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From Portrait by Gttlert Stmrt. 










Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


I DO not in this volume write of Jefferson either as of 
the great man or as of the statesman. My object is only 
to give a faithful picture of him as he was in private life 
to show that he was, as I have been taught to think of 
him by those who knew and loved him best,:a beautiful 
domestic character. With this view I have collected the 
reminiscences of him which have been written by his 
daughter and grandchildren. From his correspondence, 
published and unpublished, I have culled his family let- 
ters, and here reproduce them as being the most /aithful 
witnesses of the warmth of his affections, the elevation of 
his character, and the scrupulous fidelity with which he 
discharged the duties of every relation in life. 

I am well aware that the tale of Jefferson's life, both 
public and private, has been well told by the most faithful 
of biographers in "Bandall's Life of Jefferson^" and that 
much of what is contained in these pages will be found in 
that admirable work, which, from the author's zealous de- 
votion to truth, and his indefatigable industry in collect- 
ing his materials, must ever stand chief among the most 
valuable contributions to American history. I propose, 
however, to give a sketch of Jefferson's private life in a 
briefer form than it can be found in either the thirteen 
volumes of the two editions of his published correspond- 
ence, or in the three stout octavo volumes of his Life by 
Randall. To give a bird's-eye view of his whole career^ 

viii PREFACE. 

and to preserve unbroken the thread of this narrative, I 
quote freely from his Memoir, and from such of his letters 
as cast any light upon the subject, filling up the blanks 
with my own pen. 

Jefferson's executor having a few months ago recovered 
from the United States Government his family letters and 
private papers, which had been exempted from the sale of 
his public manuscripts, I am enabled to give in these pages 
many interesting letters never before published. 

No man's private character has been more foully as- 
sailed than Jefferson's, and none so wantonly exposed to 
the public gaze, nor more fully vindicated. I shall be 
more than rewarded for my labors should I- succeed in 
imparting to my readers a tithe of that esteem and venera- 
tion which I have been taught to feel for him by the per- 
son with whom he was most intimate during life the 
grandson who, as a boy, played upon his knee, and, as a 
man, was, as he himself spoke of him, "the staff" of his 
old age. 

The portrait of Jefferson is from a painting by Gilbert 
Stuart, in the possession of his family, and by them con- 
sidered as the best likeness of him. The portrait of his 
daughter, Martha Jefferson Eandolph, is from a painting 
by Sully* The view of Monticello represents the home 
of Jefferson as it existed during his lifetime, and not as it 
now is a ruin. 

June, 1871. 



Jefferson's Birthplace. Sketch of his early Life. Character of his Par- 
ents. His Grandfather, Isham Eandolph. Peter Jefferson's Friendship 
for William Randolph. Eandolph dies, and leaves his young Son to the 
Guardianship of Jefferson. His faithful Discharge of the Trust. Thomas 
Jefferson's earliest Recollections. His Father's Hospitality. First Ac- 
quaintance with Indians. Life of the early Settlers of Virginia: its 
Ease and Leisure. Expense of Thomas Jefferson's early Education. 
Death of his Father. Perils of his Situation. Letter to his Guardian. 
Goes to William and Mary College. Extract from his Memoir. 
Sketch of Fauquier. OfWythe , Page 17 


Intense Application as a Student. Hahits of Study kept up during his Vaca- 
tions. First Preparations made for Building at Monticello. Letters to his 
College Friend, John Page. Anecdote of Benjamin Harrison. Jefferson's 
Devotion to his eldest Sister. He witnesses the Debate on the Stamp 
Act. First Meeting with Patrick Henry. His Opinion of him. His su- 
perior Education. Always a Student. Wide Range of Information. 
Anecdote. Death of his eldest Sister. His Grief. Buries himself in Ms 
Books. Finishes his Course of Law Studies. Begins to practise. Col- 
lection of Vocabularies of Indian Languages. House at Shadwell burnt. 
Loss of his Library. Marriage. Anecdote of his Courtship. Wife's 
Beauty. Bright Prospects* Friendship for Dabney Carr. His Talents. 
His Death. Jefferson buries him at Monticello. His Epitaph 31 


Happy Life at Monticello. Jefferson's fine Horsemanship. Birth of his old- 
est Child. Goes to Congress. Death of his Mother. Kindness to Brit- 
ish Prisoners. Their Gratitude. His Devotion to Music. Letter to Gen- 
eral de Riedesel. Is made Governor of Virginia. Tarleton pursues La- 
fayette. Reaches Charlottesville. The British at Monticello. Cornwal- 
lis's Destruction of Property at Elk Hill. Jefferson retires at the End of 
his Second Term as Governor. Mrs. Jefferson's delicate Health. Jeffer- 
son meets with an Accident. Writes his Notes on Virginia. The Mar- 
quis de Chastellux visits Monticello. His Description of it. Letter of 
Congratulation from Jefferson to Washington. Mrs. Jefferson's Illness 
and Death. Her Daughter's Description of the Scene. Jefferson's 
Grief J *8 



Visit to Chesterfield County. Is appointed Plenipotentiary to Europe. 
Letter to the Marquis de Chastellux. Goes North with his Daughter. 
Leaves her in Philadelphia, and goes to Congress. Letters to his Daugh- 
ter. Sails for Europe. His Daughter's Description of the Voyage. His 
Establishment and Life in Paris. Succeeds Franklin as Minister there. 
Anecdotes of Franklin. Extracts from Mrs. Adams's Letters. Note 
from Jefferson to Mrs. Smith Page 67 


Jefferson's first Impressions of Europe. Letter to Mrs. Trist. To Baron 
De Geismer. He visits England. Letter to his Daughter. To his Sister. 
Extract from his Journal kept when in England. Letter to John Page. 
Presents a Bust of Lafayette to chief Functionaries of Paris. Breaks 
Ms Wrist. Letter to Mrs. Trist. Mr. and Mrs, Cosway. Correspond- 
ence with Mrs. Cosway. Letter to Colonel Carrington. To Mr. Madi- 
son. To Mrs. Bingham. Her Reply 79 


Death of Count de Vergennes. Jefferson is ordered to Aix by his Surgeon. 
Death of his youngest Child. Anxiety to have his Daughter Mary with 
him. Her Reluctance to leave Virginia. Her Letters to and from her Fa- 
ther. Jefferson's Letters to Mrs. and Mr, Eppes. To Lafayette. To the 
Countess de Tesse. To Lafayette. Correspondence with his Daughter 
Martha 101 


Increased Anxiety ahout his youngest Daughter. Her Aunt's Letter. She 
arrives in England. Mrs. Adams receives her. Letter to Mrs. Eppes. 
To Madame de Corny. To J. Bannister. To his Sister. Letter to Mr. 
J[ay. To Madame de Brehan. To Madame de Corny. Weariness of 
Public Life. Goes to Amsterdam. Letter to Mr. Jay. To Mr. Izard. 
To Mrs. Marks. To Mr. Marks. To Randolph Jefferson. To Mrs. 
Eppes 124 



Jefferson asks for leave of Absence. Character of the Prince of Wales. 
Letters to Madame de Brehan. Fondness for Natural History. Anec- 
dote told by Webster. Jefferson's Opinion of Chemistry. Letter to Pro- 
fessor Willard. Martha Jefferson. She wishes to enter a Convent. Her 
Father takes her Home. He is impatient to return to Virginia.' Letter 
to Washington To Mrs. Eppes. Receives leave of Absence. Farewell to 
France. Jefferson as an Ambassador. He leaves Paris. His Daugh- 
ter's Account of the Voyage, and Arrival at Home. His Reception by his 
Slaves 139 

Letters on the French Revolution 154 



Washington nominates Jefferson as Secretary of State, Jefferson's Regret 
Devotion of Southern Statesmen to Country Life. Letter to Washington. 
Jefferson accepts the Appointment, Marriage of his Daughter. He 
leaves for New York. Last Interview with Franklin. Letters to Son-in- 
law. Letters of Adieu to Friends in Paris. Family Letters Page 169 


Jefferson goes with the President to Rhode Island. Visits Monticello. 
Letter to Mrs. Eppes. Goes to Philadelphia. Family Letters. Letter 
to Washington. Goes to Monticello. Letters to his Daughter. His 
Ana. Letters to his Daughter. To General Washington. To Lafay- 
ette. To his Daughter. 189 


Anonymous Attacks on Jefferson. Washington's Letter to him. His Re- 
ply. Letter to Edmund Randolph. Returns to Philadelphia. Washing- 
ton urges him to remain in his Cabinet. Letters to his Daughter. To 
his Son-in-law. To his Brother-in-law. Sends his Resignation to the 
President. Fever in Philadelphia. Weariness of Public Life. Letters 
to his Daughters. To Mrs. Church. To his Daughter. Visits Monticel- 
lo. Returns to Philadelphia. Letter to Madison. To Mrs. Church. 
To his Daughters. Interview with Genet. Letter to Washington. His 
Reply. Jefferson returns to Monticello. State of his Affairs, and Extent 
of his Possessions. Letter to Washington. To Mr. Adams. Washing- 
ton attempts to get Jefferson back in his Cabinet. Letter to Edmund 
Randolph, declining. Pleasures of his Life at Monticello. Letter to 
Madison . To Giles. To Rutledge. To young Lafayette 213 


Description of Monticello and Jefferson by the Due de la Rochefoucauld-Li- 
ancourt Nominated Vice-President. Letter to Madison. To Adams. 
Preference- for the Office of Vice-President. Sets out for Philadelphia. 
Reception there. Returns to Monticello. Letters to his Daughter- 
Goes to Philadelphia. Letter to Rutledge. Family Letters. To Miss 
Church. To Mrs. Church 235 


Jefferson goes to Philadelphia. Letters to his Daughters. Returns to Mon- 
ticellb. Letters to his Daughter. Goes back to Philadelphia. Family 
Letters. Letters to Mrs. and Miss Church. Bonaparte, Letters to his 
Daughters. Is nominated as President. Seat of Government moved to 
Washington. Spends the Summer at Monticello. Letters to his Daugh- 
ter. -Jefferson denounced by the New England Pulpit. Letter to Uriah 
Gregory. Goes to Washington 254: 


Results of Presidential Election. Letter to his Daughter. Balloting for 
President Letter to his Daughter. Is inaugurated. Returns to Monto- 


cello. Letters to his Daughter. Goes back to "Washington. Inaugu- 
rates the Custom of sending a written Message to Congress. Abolishes 
Levees. Letter to Story. To Dickinson. Letter from Mrs. Cosway, 
Family Letters. Makes a short Visit to Monticello.^Jefferson's Sixtieth 
Year Page 271 


letums to "Washington. Letters to his Daughters. Meets with a Stranger 
in his daily Bide. Letters to his Daughter. To his young Grandson. 
To his Daughter, Mrs. Randolph. Last Letters to his Daughter, Mrs. 
Eppes. Her Illness. Letter to Mr. Eppes. Goes to Monticello. Death 
of Mrs. Eppes. Account of it by a Niece. Her Reminiscences of Mary 
Jefferson Eppes. Letter to Page, To Tyler. From Mrs. Adams. Mr. 
Jefferson's Reply. Midnight Judges. Letters to his Son-in-law 288 


denominated as President. Letter to Mazzei. Slanders against Jefferson. 
Sad Visit to Monticello. ^Second Inauguration. Receives the Bust of 
the Emperor of Russia. Letters" to and from the Emperor. To Diodati. 
To Dickinson. To his Son-in-law. Devotion to his Grandchildren. 
Letter to Monroe. To his Grandchildren, His Temper when roused. 
Letter to Charles Thompson. To Dr. Logan. Anxious to avoid a Public 
Reception on his Return home. Letter to Dupont de Nemours. Inaugu- 
ration of Madison. Harmony in Jefferson's Cabinet. Letter to Humboldt. 
Farewell Address from the Legislature of Virginia. His Reply. Reply 
to an Address of Welcome from the Citizens of Albemarle. Letter to 

. Madison. Anecdote of Jefferson. Dr. Stuart says he is quarelling with 
the Almighty 310 


His final Return home. Wreck of his Fortunes. Letter to Mr. Eppes. To 
his Grand-daughter, Mrs. Bankhead. To Kosciusko. Description of the 
Interior of the House at Monticello. Of the View from Monticello. Jef- 
ferson's Grandson's Description of his' Manners and Appearance. Anec- 
dotes. His Habits. Letter to Governor Langdon. To Governor Tyler. 
Life at Monticello. Jefferson's Studies and Occupations. Sketch of 
Jefferson by a Grand-daughter. Reminiscences of him by another Grand- 
daughter 329 


Letter to his Grand-daughter, Mrs. Bankhead. To Dr. Rush. To Duane. 
Anxiety to reopen Correspondence with John Adams. Letter to Benja- 
min Rush. Old Letter from Mrs. Adams. Letter from Benjamin Rush. 
Letter from John Adams. The Reconciliation. Character of Washing- 
ton. Devotion to him. Letter to Say. State of Health. Labors of 
Correspondence, Cheerfulness of his Disposition. Baron Grimour. 
Catherine of Russia. Ledyard. Letter to Mrs. Trist. To John Adams. 
Gives Charge of his Affairs to his Grandson. Letter to his Grandson, 
Francis Eppes. Description of Monticello by Lieutenant Hall. Letter to 
Mrs. Adams. Her Death. Beautiful Letter to Mr. Adams. Letter to Dr. 
Utley. Correspondence with Mrs. Cosway. Tidings from Old French 
Friends , 349 



Letters to John Adams. Number of Letters written and received. To John 
Adams. Breaks his Arm. Letter to Judge Johnson. To Lafayette. 
The University of Virginia, Anxiety to have Southern Young Men edu- 
cated at the South. Letters on the Subject. Lafayette's Visit to Ameri- 
ca, His Meeting with Jefferson. Daniel Webster's Visit to Monticello, 
and Description of Mr. Jefferson Page 378 


Pecuniary Embarrassments. Letter from a Grand-daughter. Dr. Dungli- 
son's Memoranda. Sells his Library. Depressed Condition of the Money 
Market. Disastrous Consequences to Jefferson. His Grandson's Devo- 
tion and Efforts to relieve him. Mental Sufferings of Mr. Jefferson. 
Plan of Lottery to sell his Property. Hesitation of Virginia Legislature 
to grant his Request. Sad Letter to Madison. Correspondence with Ca- 
bell. Extract from a Letter to his Grandson, to Cabell. Beautiful Letter 
to his Grandson. Distress at the Death of his Grand-daughter. Dr. 
Dunglison's Memoranda. Meeting in 'Richmond. In Nelson County. 
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore come to his Relief. His Gratitude. 
Unconscious that at his Death Sales of his Property would fail to pay his 
Debts. Deficit made up by his Grandson. His Daughter left penniless,, 
Generosity of Louisiana and South Carolina 397 


Letter to Namesake. To John Adams. Declining Health. Dr. Dungli- 
son's Memoranda. Tenderness to his Family. Accounts of his Death by 
Dr. Dunglison and Colonel Randolph. Farewell to his Daughter, Direc- 
tions for a Tombstone. It is erected by his Grandson. Shameful Desecra- 
tion of Tombstones at Monticello f 419 



THOMAS JEFFERSON (From Portrait by Stuart) } r 

MONTICELLO (The Western View) J 





MARTHA JEFFERSON RANDOLPH (From Portrait by Sully) 65 

JEFFERSON'S HORSE-CHAIR (Still preserved at Monticello) 289 

MONTICELLO (Plan of the First Floor) 334 


JEFFERSON'S GRAVE (Near Monticello) , 432 



Jefferson's Birthplace. Sketch of his early Life. Character of his Pa- 
rents. His Grandfather, Isham Randolph. Peter Jefferson's Friendship 
for William Randolph. Randolph dies, and leaves his young Son to the 
Guardianship of Jefferson. His faithful Discharge of the -Trust. Thomas 
Jefferson's earliest Recollections. His leather's Hospitality. First Ac- 
quaintance with Indians. Life of the early Settlers of Virginia: its 
Ease and Leisure. Expense of Thomas Jefferson's early Education. 
Death of his Father. Perils of his Situation. Letter to his Guardian. 
Goes to William and Mary College. Extract from his Memoir. 
Sketch of Fauquier. Of Wythe. 

ON a long, gently sloping hill five miles east of Char- 
lottesville, Virginia, the traveller, passing along the county 
road of Albemarle, has pointed out to him the spot where 
Thomas Jefferson was born, April 1 3th, 1 743. A few aged 
locust-trees are still left to mark the place, and two or three 
sycamores stretch out their long majestic arms over the 
greensward beneath, once the scene of young Jefferson's 
boyish games, but now a silent pasture, where cattle and 
sheep browse, undisturbed by the proximity of any dwell- 
ing. The trees are all that are left of an avenue planted by 
him on his twenty-first birthday, and, as such, are objects of 
peculiar interest to those who love to dwell upon the asso- 
ciations of the past. 

The situation is one well suited for a family mansion of- 
fering from its site a landscape view rarely surpassed. To 
the south are seen the picturesque valley and bants of the 
Rivanna, with an extensive, peaceful-looking horizon view, 
lying like a sleeping beauty, in the east ; while long rolling 



hills, occasionally rising into mountain ranges until at last 
they are all lost in the gracefully-sweeping profile of the 
Blue Ridge, stretch westward, and the thickly - wooded 
Southwest Mountains, with the highly-cultivated fields and 
valleys intervening, close the scene on the north, and present 
landscapes whose exquisite enchantment must ever charm 
the beholder. 

A brief sketch of Jefferson's family and early life is given 
in the following quotation from his Memoir, written by him- 
self: " 

January 6, 1821. At the age of 77,1 begin to make some 
memoranda, and state some recollections of dates and facts 
concerning myself, for my own more ready reference, and for 
the information of my family. 

The tradition in my father's family was, that their ances- 
tor came to this country from Wales, and from near the 
mountain of Snowden, the highest in Great Britain. I noted 
once a case from Wales in the law reports, where a person 
of our name was either plaintiff or defendant ; and one of 
the same name was Secretary to the Virginia Company. 
These -are the only instances in which I have met with the 
name in that country, I have found it in our early records; 
but the first particular information I have of any ancestor 
was of my grandfather, who lived at the place in Chester- 
field called Osborne's, and owned the lands afterwards the 
glebe of the parish. He had three sons : Thomas, who died 
young; Field, who settled on the waters of the Roanoke, 
and left numerous descendants; and Peter, my father, who 
settled on the lands I still own, called Shadwell, adjoining 
my present residence. He was born February 29th, 1708, 
and intermarried 1739 with Jane Randolph, of the age of 19, 
daughter of Isham Randolph, one of the seven sons of that 
name and family settled at Dungeness, in G-oochland. They 
trace their pedigree far back in England and Scotland, to 
which let every one ascribe the faith and merit he chooses. 

My father's education had been quite neglected ; but being 
of a strong mind, sound judgment, and eager after informa- 
tion, he read much, and improved himself; insomuch that he 
was chosen, with Joshua Fry, Professor of Mathematics in 


William and Mary College, to run the boundary-line be- 
tween Virginia and North Carolina, which had been begun 
by Colonel Byrd, and was afterwards employed with the 
same Mr. Fry to make the first map of Virginia which had 
ever been made, that of Captain Smith being merely a con- 
jectural sketch. They possessed excellent materials for so 
much of the country as is below the Blue Ridge, little being 
then known beyond that ridge. He was the third or fourth 
settler, about the year 1737, of the part of the .country in 
which I live. He died August 17th, 175 7, leaving my moth- 
er a widow, who lived till 1776, with six daughters and two 
sons, myself the elder. 

To my younger brother he left his estate on James River, 
called Snowden, after the supposed birthplace of the fami- 
ly ; to myself, the lands on which I was born and live. He 
placed me at the English school at five years of age, and at 
the Latin at nine, where I continued until his death. My 
teacher, Mr. Douglas, a clergyman from Scotland, with the 
rudiments of the Latin and Greek languages, taught me the 
French ; and on the death of my father I went to the Rev. 
Mr. Maury, a correct classical scholar, with whom I contin- 
ued two years. 

The talents of great men are frequently said to be derived 
from the mother. If they are inheritable, Jefferson was en- 
titled to them on both the paternal and maternal side. His 
father was a man of most extraordinary vigor, both of mind 
and body. His son never wearied of dwelling with all the 
pride of filial devotion and admiration on the noble traits 
of his character. To the regular duties of his vocation as a 
land-surveyor (which, it will be remembered, was the profes- 
sion of Washington also) were added those of county sur- 
veyor, colonel of the militia, and member of the House of 

Family tradition has preserved several incidents of the 
survey of the boundary-line between Virginia and North 
Carolina, which prove him to have been a man of remarka- 
ble powers of endurance, untiring energy, and indomitable 
courage. The perils and toils of running that line across 


the Blue Ridge were almost incredible, and were not sur- 
passed by those encountered by Colonel Byrd and his party 
in forcing the same line through the forests and marshes of 
the Dismal Swamp in the year 1728. On this expedition 
Colonel Jefferson and his companions had often to defend 
themselves against the attacks of wild beasts during the 
day, and at night found but a broken rest, sleeping as 
they were obliged to do for safety in trees. At length 
their supply of provisions began to run low, and his com- 
rades, overcome by hunger and exhaustion, fell fainting be- 
side him. Amid all these hardships and difficulties, Jeffer- 
son's courage did not once flag, but living upon raw flesh, or 
whatever could be found to sustain life, he pressed on and 
persevered until his task was accomplished. 

So great was his physical strength, that when standing 
between two hogsheads of tobacco lying on their sides, he 
could raise or, "head" them both up at once. Perhaps it 
was because he himself rejoiced in such gigantic strength 
that it was his frequent remark that "it is the strong in 
body who are both the strong and free in mind." This, too, 
made him careful /Co have his young son early instructed in 
all the manly spcfrts and exercises of his day ; so that while 
still a school-boy he was a good rider, a good swimmer, and 
an ardent sportsman, spending hours and days wandering in 
pursuit of game along the sides of the beautiful Southwest 
Mountains thus strengthening his body and his health, 
which must otherwise have given way under the intense 
application, to study to which he soon afterwards devoted 

The Jeffersons were among the earliest imrmgrants to the 
colony, and we find the name in the list of the twenty-two 
members who composed the Assembly that met in James- 
town in the year 1619 the first legislative body that was 
ever convened in America.* Colonel Jefferson's father-in- 
law, Isham Randolph, of Dungeness, was a man of consider- 

* The Jeffersons first emigrated to Virginia in 1612. 


able eminence in the colony, whose name associated itself in 
his day with all that was good and wise. In the year 1717 
he married, in London, Jane Rogers. Possessing the polish- 
ed and courteous manners of a gentleman of the colonial 
days, with a well-cultivated intellect, and a heart in which 
every thing that is noble and true was instinctive, he charm- 
ed and endeared himself to all who were thrown into his so- 
ciety. He devoted much time to the study of science ; and 
we find the following mention of him in a quaint letter from 
Peter Collinson, of London, to Bartram, the naturalist, then 
on the eve of visiting Virginia to study her flora : 

When thee proceeds home, I know no. person who will 
make thee more welcome than Isham Randolph. He lives 
thirty or forty miles above the falls of James River, in 
Goochland, above the other settlements. Now, I take his 
house to be a very suitable place to make a settlement at, 
for to take several days' excursions all round, and to return 

to his house at night One thing I must desire of thee, 

and do insist that thee must oblige me therein : that thou 
make up that drugget clothes, to go to Virginia in, and not 
appear to disgrace thyself or me ; for though I should not 
esteem thee the less to come to me in what dress thou wilt, 
yet these Virginians are a very gentle, well-dressed people, 
and look, perhaps, more at a man's outside than his inside. 
For these and other reasons, pray go very clean, neat, and 
handsomely-dressed to Virginia. Never mind thy clothes ; 
I will send thee more another year. 

In reply to Bartram's account of the kind welcome which 
he received from Isham Randolph, he writes : "As for my 
friefld Isham, who I am also personally known to, I did not 
doufet his civility to thee. I only wish I had been there and 
shared it with thee." Again, after Randolph's death, he 
writes to Bartram that " the good man is gone to 'his long 
- home, and, I doubt not, is happy." 

Such was Jefferson's maternal grandfather. His mother, 
from whom he inherited his cneerful'and hopeiul temper and 
disposition, was a woman of a clear and strong understand- 


ing, and, in every respect, worthy of the love of such a man 
as Peter Jefferson. 

Isham Randolph's nephew, Colonel William Randolph, of 
Tuckahoe, was Peter Jefferson's most intimate friend... A 
pleasing incident preserved in the family records proves 
how warm and generous their friendship was. Two or 
three days before Jefferson took out a patent for a thou- 
sand acres of land on the Rivanna River, Randolph had 
taken out one for twenty-four hundred acres adjoining. 
Jefferson, not finding a good site for a house on his land, 
his friend sold him four hundred acres of his tract, the price 
paid for these four hu&dred acres being,- as the deed still 
in the possession of the family proves, "Henry Weather- 
bourne's biggest bowl of arrack punch." 

Colonel Jefferson called his estate " Shadwell," after the 
parish in England where his wife was born, while Randolph's 
was named " Edgehill," in honor of the field on which the 
Cavaliers and Roundheads first crossed swords. By an in- 
termarriage between their grandchildren, these two estates 
passed into the possession of descendants common to them 
both, in whose hands they have been preserved down to the 
present day. 

On the four hundred acres thus added by Jefferson to his 
original patent,, he erected a plain weather-boarded house, to 
which he took his young bride immediately after his mar- 
riage, and where they remained until the death of Colonel 
William Randolph, of Tuckahoe, in 1 745. 

It was the dying request of Colonel Randolph, that his 
friend Peter Jefferson shoiild undertake the management 
of his estates and the guardianship of his young son, Thom- 
as Mann Randolph. Being unable to fulfill this request 
while living at Shadwell, Colonel Jefferson removed his 
family to Tuckahoe, and remained there seven years, sa- 
credly guarding, like a Knight of the Round Table, the sol- 
emn charge intrusted to him, without any other reward 
than the satisfaction of fully keeping the promise made to 
his dying friend. That he refused to receive any other com- 


pensation for his services as guardian is not only proved "by 
the frequent assertion of his son in after years, but by his ac- 
counts as executor, which have ever remained unchallenged.* 
Thomas Jefferson was not more than two years old when 
his father moved to Tuckahoe, yet he often declared that 
his earliest recollection in life was of being, on that occasion, 
handed up to a servant on horseback, by whom he was car- 
ried on a pillow for a long distance. He also remembered 
that later, when five years old, he one day became impatient 
for his school to be out, and, going out, knelt behind the 
house, and there repeated the Lord's Prayer, hoping thereby 
to hurry up the desired hour. 

Colonel Jefferson's house at Shadwell was near the public 
highway, and in those days of primitive hospitality was the 
stopping-place for all passers-by, and, in the true spirit of 
Old Virginia hospitality, was thrown open to every guest. 
Here, too, the great Indian Chiefs stopped, on their journeys 
to and from the colonial capital, and it was thus that young 
Jefferson first became acquainted with and interested in 
them and their people. More than half a century later we 
'find him writing to John Adams : 

I know much of the great Ontasset, th"e warrior and ora- 
tor of the Cherokees ; he was always the guest of my father 
on his journeys to and from "Williamsburg. I was in his 
camp when he made his great farewell oration to his people, 
the evening before his departure for England. The moon 
was in full splendor, and to her he seemed to address him- 
self in his prayers for his own safety on the voyage, and that 
of his people during his absence ; his sounding voice, distinct 
articulation, animated action, and the solemn silence of his 
people at their several fires, filled me with awe and veneration. 

, The lives led by our forefathers were certainly filled with 
ease and leisure. One of Thomas Jefferson's grandsons ask- 
ed him, on one occasion, how the men of his father's day 

* In spite of these facts, however, some of Randolph's descendants, with 
more arrogance than gratitude, speak of Colonel Jefferson as heing a paid 
agent of their ancestor. 


spent their time. He smiled, and, in reply, said, " My father 
had a devoted friend, to whose house he would go, dine, 
spend the night, dine with him again on the second day, and 
return to Shadwell in the evening. His friend, in the course 
of a day or two, returned the visit, and spent the same length 
of time at his house. This occurred once every week; and 
thus, you see, they were together four days out of the 

This is, perhaps, a fair picture of the ease and leisure of the 
life of an old "Virginian, and to the causes which produced 
this style of life was due, also, the great hospitality for which 
Virginians have ever been so renowned. The process of 
farming was then so simple that the labor and cultivation 
of an estate were easily and most profitably carried on by 
an overseer and the slaves, the master only riding occasion- 
ally over his plantation to see that his general orders were 

In the school of such a life, however, were reared and de- 
veloped the characters of the men who rose to such emi- 
nence in the struggles of the Revolution, and who, as giants 
in intellect and virtue, must ever be a prominent group 
among the great historical characters of the world. Their 
devotion to the chase, to horsemanship, and to all the man- 
ly sports of the day, and the perils and adventures to be 
encountered in a new country, developed their physical 
strength, and inspired them with that bold and dashing 
spirit which still characterizes their descendants, while the 
leisure of their lives gave them time to devote to study and 

The city of Williamsburg, being the capital of the colony 
and the residence of the governor, was the seat of intelli- 
gence, refinement, and elegance, and offered every advan- 
tage for social intercourse. There it was that those grace- 
ful manners were formed which made men belonging to the 
old colonial school so celebrated for the cordial ease and 
courtesy of their address. As there were no large towns in 
the colony, the inducements and temptations offered for the 


accumulation of wealth were few, while the abundance of 
the good things of the earth found 6n his own plantation 
rendered the Virginian lavish in his expenditures, and hence 
his unbounded hospitality. Of this we have ample proof in 
the accounts which have been handed down to us of their 
mode of life. Thomas Mann Randolph, of Tuckahoe, it is 
said, consumed annually a thousand barrels of corn at his 
family stable ; while the princely abode of Colonel Byrd, of 
Westover, with its offices, covered a space of two acres. 
The prices of corn were what seem to us now fabulously 
low. The old chroniclers tell us that one year the price 
rose to the enormous sum of thirty-three cents a bushel, and 
that year was ever after known as the "ten-shilling year" 
ten shillings being the price per barrel. 

In looking over Colonel Peter Jefferson's account-books, 
one can not refrain from smiling to see the small amount 
paid for his young son's school education. To the Rev. 
William Douglas he paid sixteen pounds sterling per annum 
for his board and tuition, and Mr. Maury received for the 
same twenty pounds. Colonel Jefferson's eagerness for in- 
formation was inherited to an extraordinary degree by his 
son, who early evinced that thirst for knowledge which he 
preserved to the day of his death. He made rapid progress 
in his studies, and soon became a proficient in mathematics 
and the classics. In after years he used often to say, that 
had he to decide between the pleasure derived from the clas- 
sical education which his father had given him and the es- 
tate he had left him, he would decide in favor of the former. 

JeffersQn's father died, as we have seen, when he was only 
fourteen years old. The perils and wants of his situation, 
deprived as he was so early in life of the guidance and in- 
fluence of such a father, were very tonchingly described by 
him years afterwards, in a letter written to his eldest grand- 
son,* when the latter was sent from home to school for the 
first time. He writes : 

* Thomas Jefferson Eandolph, 


When I recollect that at fourteen years of age the whole 
care and direction of myself was thrown on myself entirely, 
without a relative or friend qualified to advise or guide me, 
and recollect the various sorts of bad company with which I 
associated from time to time, I am astonished that I did not 
turn off with some of them, and become as worthless to soci- 
ety as they were. I had the good-fortune to become ac- 
quainted very early with some characters of very high 
standing, and to feel the incessant wish that I could ever 
become what they were. Under temptations and difficulties, 
I would ask myself What would Dr. Small, Mr. Wythe, 
Peyton Randolph, do in this situation ? What course in it 
will insure me their approbation? I am certain that this 
mode of deciding on my conduct tended more to correct- 
ness than any reasoning powers I possessed. Knowing the 
even and dignified lives they pursued, I could never doubt 
for a moment which of two courses would be in character for 
them; whereas, seeking the same object through a process 
of moral reasoning, and with the jaundiced eye of youth, I 
should often have erred. From the circumstances of my po- 
sition, I was often thrown into the society of horse-racers, 
card-players, fox-hunters, scientific and professional men, and 
of dignified men ; and many a time have I asked myself, in 
the enthusiastic moment of the death of a fox, the victory of 
a favorite horse, the issue of a question eloquently argued at 
the bar, or in the great council of the nation, Well, which of 
these kinds of reputation should I prefer that of a horse- 
jockey, a fox-hunter, an orator, or the honest advocate of my 
country's rights ? Be assured, my dear Jefferson, that these 
little returns into ourselves, this self-catechising habit, is not 
trifling nor useless, but leads to the prudent selection and 
steady pursuit of what is right. 

After leaving Mr. Maury's school, we find him writing the 
following letter to a gentleman who was at the time his 
guardian. It was written when he was seventeen years 
old, and is the earliest production which we have from his 

pen : 

ShadweU, January 14th, 1760. 

Sir I was at Colo. Peter Randolph's about a fortnight 
ago, and my Schooling falling into Discourse, he said he 


thought it would be to my Advantage to go to the College, 
and was desirous I should go, as indeed I am myself for sev- 
eral Reasons. In the first place as long as I stay at the 
Mountain, the loss of one fourth of my Time is inevitable, 
by Company's coming here and detaining me from School. 
And likewise my Absence will in a great measure, put a 
Stop to so much Company, and by that Means lessen the 
Expenses of the Estate in House-keeping. And on the oth- 
er Hand by going to the College, I shall get a more univer- 
sal Acquaintance, which may hereafter be serviceable to me ; 
and I suppose I can pursue my Studies in the Greek and 
Latin as well there as here, and likewise learn something of 
the Mathematics. I shall be glad of your opinion, and re- 
main, Sir, your most humble servant, 

To Mr. John Hervey, at Bellemout. 

We find no traces, in the above school-boy's letter, of the 
graceful pen which afterwards won for its author so high a 
rank among the letter-writers of his own, or, indeed, of any 

It was decided that he should go to William and Mary 
College, and thither he accordingly went, in the year 1760. 
We again quote from his Memoir, to give a glance at this 
period of his life : 

It was my great good-fortune, and what, perhaps, fixed 
the destinies of my life, that Dr. William Small, of Scotland, 
was the Professor of Mathematics, a man profound in most 
of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent of com- 
munication, correct and gentlemanly manners, and an en- 
larged and liberal mind. He, most happily for me, became 
soon attached to me, and made me his daily companion, 
when not engaged in the school ; and from his conversation 
I got my first views of the expansion of science, and of the 
system of things in which we are placed. Fortunately, the 
philosophical chair became vacant soon after my arrival at 
college, and he was appointed to fill it per interim; and he 
was the first who ever gave, in that college, regular lectures 
in Ethics, Rhetoric, and Belles Lettres. He returned to Eu- 
rope in 1762, having previously filled up the measure of his 


goodness to me, by procuring for me, from his most intimate 
friend, George Wythe, a reception as a student of law under 
his direction, and introduced me to the acquaintance and fa- 
miliar table of Governor Fauquier, the ablest man who had 
ever filled that office. With him and at his table, Dr. Small 
and Mr. Wythe, his amid omnium horarum, and myself 
formed a partie quarr'ee, and to the habitual conversations 
on these occasions I owed much instruction. Mr. Wythe 
continued to be my faithful and beloved mentor in youth, 
and my most affectionate friend through life. 

There must indeed have been some very great charm and 
attraction about the young student of seventeen, to have 
won for him the friendship and esteem of such a profound 
scholar as Small, and a seat at the family table of the ele- 
gant and accomplished Fauquier. 

We have just quoted Jefferson's finely-drawn character of 
Small, and give now the following brilliant but sad picture, 
as, drawn by the Virginia historian, Burke, of the able and 
generous Fauquier, and of the vices which he introduced 
into the colony : 

With some allowance, he was every thing that could have 
been wished for by Virginia under a royal government. 
Generous, liberal, elegant in his manners and acquirements ; 
his example left an impression of taste, refinement and eru- 
dition "on the character of the .colony, which eminently con- 
tributed to Its present high reputation in the arts. It is 
stated, on evidence sufficiently authentic, that on the return 
of Anson from his circumnavigation of the earth,, he acci- 
dentally fell in with Fauquier, from whom, in a single night's 
play, he won at cards the whole of his patrimony ; that af- 
terwards, being captivated by the striking graces of this 
gentleman's person and conversation, he procured for him 
the government of Virginia. Unreclaimed by the former 
subversion of his fortune, he introduced the same fatal pro- 
pensity to -gaming into Virginia; and the example of so 
many virtues and accomplishments, alloyed but by a single 
vice, was but too successful in extending the influence of 
this pernicious and ruinous practice. He found among the 
people of his new government a character compounded of 


the same elements as his own ; and he found little difficulty 
in rendering fashionable a practice which had, before his ar- 
rival, already prevailed to an alarming extent. During the 
recess of the courts of judicature and of the assemblies, ne 
visited the most distinguished landholders of the colonies, 
and the rage of playing deep, reckless of time, health or 
money, spread like a contagion among a class proverbial for 
their hospitality, their politeness and fondness for expense. 
In every thing besides, Fauquier was the ornament and the 
delight of Virginia. 

Happy it was for young Jefferson, that " the example of 
so many virtues and accomplishments " in this brave gentle- 
man failed to give any attraction, for him at least, to the 
vice which was such a blot on Fauquier's fine character. 
Jefferson never knew one card from another, and never al- 
lowed the game to be played in his own house. 

Turning from the picture of the gifted but dissipated roy- 
al Governor, it is a relief to glance at the character given by 
Jefferson of the equally gifted but pure and virtuous George 
Wythe. We can not refrain from giving the conclusion of 
his sketch of Wythe, completing, as it does, the picture of 
the "partie quarr&e " which so often met at the Governor's 
hospitable board : 

No man ever left behind him a character more venerated 
than George Wythe. His virtue was of the purest tint; his 
integrity inflexible, and his justice exact ; of warm patriot- 
ism, and, devoted as he was to liberty, and the natural and 
equal rights of man, he might truly be called the Cato of his 
country, without the avarice of the Roman ; for a more dis- 
interested man never lived. Temperance and regularity in 
all his habits gave him general good health, and his unaffect- 
ed modesty and suavity of manners endeared him to every 
one. He was of easy elocution ; his language chaste, me- 
thodical in the arrangement of his matter, learned and logic- 
al in the use of it, and of great urbanity in debate ; not quick 
of apprehension, but, with a little time, profound in penetra- 
tion and sound in conclusion. In his philosophy he was firm ; 
and neither troubling, nor, perhaps, trusting, any one with 


his religious creed, he left the world to the conclusion that 
that religion must be good which could produce a life of 
such exemplary virtue. His stature was of the middle 
size, well formed and proportioned, and the features of his 
face were manly, comely, and engaging. Such was George 
Wythe, the honor of his own and the model of future times. 



Intense Application as a Student. Habits of Study kept up during his Vaca- 
tions. First Preparations made for Building at Monticello. Letters to his 
College Friend, John Page. Anecdote of Benjamin Harrison. Jefferson's 
Devotion to his eldest Sister. He witnesses the Debate on the Stamp 
Act.- 1 First Meeting with Patrick Henry. His Opinion of him. His su- 
perior Education. Always a Student Wide Bange of Information. 
Anecdote. Death of his eldest Sister. His Grief. Buries himself in his 
Books. Finishes his Course of Law Studies. Begins to practise. Col- 
lection of Vocabularies of Indian Languages. House at Shadwell burnt. 
Loss of his Library. Marriage. Anecdote of his Courtship. Wife's 
Beauty. Bright Prospects. Friendship for Dabney Cam His Talents. 
His Death. Jefferson buries him at Monticello. His Epitaph. 

GEE AT as were the charms and delights of the society 
into which Jefferson was thrown in Williamsburg, they had 
not the power to draw him off from his studies. On the 
contrary, he seemed to find from his intercourse with such 
men as Wythe and Small, fresh incentives to diligence in his 
literary pursuits ; and these, together with his natural taste 
for study, made his application to it so intense, that had he 
possessed a less vigorous and robust constitution, his health 
must have given way. He studied fifteen hours a day. 
During the most closely occupied days of his college life it 
was his habit to study until two o'clock at night, and rise at 
dawn; the day he spent in close application the only recre- 
ation being a run at twilight to a certain stone which stood 
at a point a, mile beyond the limits of the town. His habits 
of study were kept up during his vacations, which were 
spent at Shadwell ; and though he did not cut himself off 
from the pleasures of social intercourse with his friends and 
family, yet he still devoted nearly three-fourths of his time 
to his books. He rose in the morning as soon as the hands 
of a dock placed on the mantle-piece in his chamber could 
be distinguished in the gray light of early dawn.>~-After 


sunset he crossed the Rivarxna in a little canoe, which was 
kept exclusively for his own use, and walked up to the sum- 
mit of his loved Monticello, where he was having the apex 
of this mountain levelled down, preparatory to building. 

The following extracts from letters written to his friends 
while he was a college-boy, give a fair picture of the spright- 
liness of his nature and his enjoyment of society. 

To John Page a friend to whom he was devotedly at- 
tached all through life he writes, Dec. 25, 1762 : 

You can not conceive the satisfaction it would give me to 
have a letter from you. Write me very circumstantially , 
every thing which happened at the wedding. Was she* 
there? because if she was,! ought to have been at the devil 
for not being there too. If there is any news stirring in 
town or country, such as deaths, courtships, or marriages, in 
the circle of my acquaintance, let me know it. Remember 
me affectionately to all the young ladies of my acquaintance,, 
particularly the Miss Burwells, and Miss Potters ; and tell 
them that though that heavy earthly part of me, my body, 
be absent, the better half of me, my soul, is ever with them, 
and that my best wishes shall ever attend them. Tell Miss 
Alice Corbin that I verily believe the rats knew I was to 
win a pair of garters from her, or they never would have 
been so cruel as to carry mine away. This very considera- 
tion makes me so sure of the bet, that I shall ask every body 
I see from that part of the world, what pretty gentleman is 
making his addresses to her. I would fain ask the favor of 
Miss Becca Burwell to give me another watch-paper of her 
own cutting, which I should esteem much more, though it 
were a plain round one, than the nicest in the world cut by 
other hands; however, I am afraid she would think this pre- 
sumption, after my suffering the other to get spoiled, 

A few weeks later, he writes to Page,, from Shad well : 

To tell you the plain truth, I have not a syllable to write 
to you about. For I 'do not conceive that any thing can 
happen in my world which you would give a curse to know, 

* His lady-love, doubtless Rebecca Harwell. 


or I either. All things here appear to me to trudge on in 
one and the same round : we rise in the morning that we 
may eat breakfast, dinner, and supper ; and go to bed again 
that we may get up the next morning and do the same ; so 
that you never saw two peas more alike than our yesterday 
and to-day. Under these circumstances, what would you 
have me say ? Would you that I Should write nothing hut 
truth ? I tell you, I know nothing that is true. Or would 
you rather that I should write you a pack of lies? Why, 
unless they are more ingenious than I am able to invent, 
they, would furnish you with little amusement. What can 
I do, then ? Nothing but ask you the news in your world. 
.How have you done since I saw you? How did Nancy look 
at you when you danced with her at SouthalPs ? Have you 
any glimmering of hope ? How does R B. do ? Had I bet- 
ter stay here and do nothing, or go down and do less? or, in 
other words, had I better stay here while I am here, or go 
down that I may have the pleasure of sailing up the river" 
again in a full-rigged flat ? Inclination tells me to go, re- 
ceive my sentence, and be no longer in suspense ; but reason 
says, If you go, and your attempt proves unsuccessful, you 

will be ten times more wretched than ever I have 

some thoughts of going to Petersburg if the actors go there 
in May. If I do, I do not know but I may keep on to Wil- 
liam sburg, as the birth-night will be near. I hear that Ben 
Harrison* has been to Wilton : let me know his success. 

In his literary pursuits and plans for the future, Jefferson 
found a most congenial and sympathizing companion, as well 

* This Ben Harrison afterwards married Miss Randolph, of Wilton, and 
was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was fond of the good 
things of this life, and was a high liver. Mr. Madison used to tell, with 
great glee, the following good story about him : While a memher of the first 
Congress, which met in Philadelphia, he was on one occasion joined by a 
friend as he left the congressional halL Wishing to ask his friend to join him 
in a bumper, he took him to a certain place where supplies were furnished to 
the members of Congress, and called for two glasses of brandy-and-water. 
The man in charge replied that liquors were not included in the supplies fur- 
nished to Congressmen. 

' " Why," asked Harrison, "what is it, then, that I see the New England 
members come here and drink ?" 

"Molasses and water, which they have charged as stationery" was the reply. 

"Very well," said Harrison, "give me the brandy-and-water, and charge 
it a&fuel." 



as a loving friend, in Ms highly-gifted young sister, Jane 
Jefferson, Three years his senior, and a woman of extraor- 
dinary vigor of mind, we can well imagine with what pride 
and pleasure she must have watched the early development 
and growth of her young brother's genius and learning. 
When five years old, he had read all the books contained in 
his father's little library, and we have already found him 
sought out by the royal .Governor, and chosen as one of his 
favorite companions, when but a college-boy. Like himself, 
his sister was devoted to music, and they spent many hours 
together cultivating their taste and talent for it. Both 
were particularly fond of sacred music, and she often grati- 
fied her young brother by singing for him hymns. 

We have seen, from hi letters to his friend Page, that, 
while a student in Williamsburg, Jefferson fell in love with 
Miss Rebecca Burwell one of the beauties of her day. He 
was indulging fond dreams of success in winning the young 
lady's heart and hand, when his courtship was suddenly cut 
short by her, to him, unexpected marriage to another. 

In the following year, 1765, there took place in the House 
of Burgesses the great debate on the Stamp Act, in which 
Patrick Henry electrified his hearers by his bold and sub- 
lime flights of oratory. In the lobby of the House was seen 
the tall, thin figure of Jefferson, bending eagerly forward to 
witness the stirring scene his face paled from the effects of 
hard study, and his eyes flashing with the fire of latent ge- 
nius, and all the enthusiasm of youthful and devoted patriot- 
ism. In allusion to this scene, he writes in his Memoir : 

When the famous resolutions of 1765 against the Stamp 
Act were proposed, I was yet a student of law in Williams- 
burg. I attended the debate, however, at the door of the 
lobby of the House of Burgesses, and heard the splendid dis- 
play of Mr. Henry's talents as a popular orator. They were 
indeed great; such as I have never heard from any other 
man. He appeared to me to speak as Homer wrote. 

It was when on his way to Williamsburg to enter Wil- 


liam and Mary College, that Jefferson first met Henry. 
They spent a fortnight together on that occasion, at the 
house of Mr. Dandridge, in Hanover, and there began the 
acquaintance and friendship between them which lasted 
through life. While not considering Henry a man of educa- 
tion or a*well-read lawyer, Jefferson often spoke with enthu- 
siasm to his friends and family of the wonders and beauties 
of his eloquence, and also of his great influence and signal 
services in bringing about unanimity among the parties 
which were found in the colony at the commencement of the 
troubles with the mother-country. He frequently expressed 
admiration for his intrepid spirit and inflexible courage. 
Two years before his death we find him speaking of Henry 

Wirt says he read Plutarch's Lives once a year. I don't 
believe he ever read two volumes of them. On his visits to 
court, he used always to put up with me. On one occasion 
of the breaking up in November, to meet again in the spring, 
as he was departing in- the morning, he looked among my 
books, and observed, " Mr. Jefferson, I will take two volumes 
of Hume's Essays, and try to read them this winter." On 
his return, he brought them, saying he had not been able to 
get half way into one of them. 

His great -delight was to put on his hunting-shirt, collect a 
parcel of overseers and such-like people, and spend weeks to- 
gether hunting in the " piny woods," camping at night and 
cracking jokes round a light-wood fire. 

It was to him that we were indebted for the unanimity 
that prevailed among us. He would address the assem- 
blages of the people at which he was present in such strains 
of native eloquence as Homer wrote in. I never heard any 
thing that deserved to be called by the same name with 
what flowed from him ; and where he got that torrent of 
language from is inconceivable. I have frequently shut my* 
eyes while he spoke, and, when he was done, asked myself 
what he had said, without being able to recollect a word of 
it. He was no logician. He was truly a great man, how- 
ever one of enlarged views. 


Mr. Jefferson furnished anecdotes, facts, and documents for 
Wirt's Life of Henry, and Mr. Wirt submitted his manu- 
script to him for criticism and review, which he gave, and 
also suggested alterations that were made. We find, from 
his letters to Mr. Wirt, that when /he latter flagged an^ hes- 
itated as to the completion and publication of his work, it 
was Jefferson who urged him on. In writing of Henry's 
supposed inattention to ancient charters, we find him ex- 
pressing himself thus : "He drew all natural rights from a 
purer source the feelings of his own breast."* 

In connection with this subject, we can not .refrain from 
quoting from Wirt the following fine description of Henry 
in the great debate on the Stamp Act : 

It was in the midst of this magnificent debate, while he 
(Henry) was descanting on the tyranny of the obnoxious 
act, that he exclaimed, in a voice of thunder, and with the 
look of a god, " Csesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his 
Cromwell, and George the Third " (" Treason !" cried the 
Speaker. " Treason ! treason !" echoed from every part of 
the House. It was one of those trying moments which are 
so decisive of character. Henry faltered not an instant ; but 
rising to a loftier altitude, and fixing on the Speaker an eye 
of the most determined fire, he finished his sentence witli the 
firmest emphasis) 1 -" may profit by their example. If this 
be treason, make the most of iff 

When we think of the wonderful powers of this great 
man, whose heaven-born eloquence so stirred the hearts of 
men, how touching the meekness with which, at the close of 
an eventful and honorable career, he thus writes of himself: 
" Without any classical education, without patrimony, with- 
out what is called the influence of family connection, and 
without solicitation, I have attained the highest offices of 
my country. I have often contemplated it as a rare and ex- 
traordinary instance, and pathetically exclaimed, c Not unto 
me, not unto me, Lord, but unto thy name be the praise !'"J 

* Kennedy's " Life of Wirt, 11 vol. i., p. 3G7. 

f Wirt's Life of Henry, f ibid. 


Jefferson continued to prosecute his studies at William 
and Mary, and we have in the following incident a pleasing 
proof of his generosity : 

While at college, he was one year quite extravagant in 
his .dress, and in his outlay in horses. At the end of the 
year he sent his account to his guardian ; and thinking that 
he had spent more of the income from his father's estate 
than was his share, he proposed that the amount of his 'ex- 
penses should be deducted from his portion of the property. 
His guardian, however, replied good-naturedly, " No, no ; if 
you have sowed your wild oats in this manner, Tom, the 
estate can well afford to pay your expenses." 

When Jefferson left college, he had laid the broad and 
solid foundations of that fine education which in learning 
placed him head and shoulders above his contemporaries. 
A fine mathematician, he was also a finished Greek, Latin, 
French, Spanish, and Italian scholar. He carried with him 
to Congress in the year 1775 a reputation for great literary 
acquirements. John Adams, in his diary for that year, thus 
speaks of him : " Duane says that Jefferson is the greatest 
'rubber-off of dust that he has met with ; that he has learned 
French, Italian, and Spanish, and wants to learn German," 

His school and college education was considered by him 
as only the vestibule to that palace of learning which is 
reached by " no royal road." He once told a grandson that 
from the time when, as a boy, he had turned off wearied 
from play and first found pleasure in books, he had* never 
sat down in idleness. And when we consider 'the vast fund 
of learning and wide range of information possessed by him, 
and which in his advanced years won for him the appella- 
tion of a " walking encyclopaedia," we can well understand 
how this must have been the case. His thirst for knowledge 
was insatiable, and he seized eagerly all means of obtaining 
it. It was his habit, in his intercourse with all classes of 
men the mechanic as well as the man of science to turn 
the conversation upon that subject with which the man was 
best acquainted, whether it was the construction of a wheel 


or the anatomy of an extinct species of animals ; and after 
having drawn from him all the information which he pos- 
sessed, on returning home or retiring to his private apart- 
ments, it was all set down by him in writing thus arrang- 
ing it methodically and fixing it in his mind. 

An anecdote which has been often told of him will give 
the reader an idea of the varied extent of his knowledge. 
On one pccasion, while travelling, he stopped at a country 
inn. A stranger, who did not know who he was, entered 
into conversation with this plainly-dressed and unassuming 
traveller. He introduced one subject after another into the 
conversation, and found him perfectly acquainted with each. 
Tilled with wonder, he seized the first opportunity to inquire 
of the landlord who his guest was, saying that, when he 
spoke of the law, he thought he was a lawyer.; then turning 
the conversation on medicine, felt sure he was a physician ; 
but having touched on theology, he became convinced that 
he was a clergyman. "Oh," replied the landlord, " why I 
thought you knew the Squire." The stranger w$s then as : 
tonished to hear that the traveller whom he hald found so 
affable and simple in his manners was Jefferson. 

The family circle at Shadwell consisted of six sisters,* two 
brothers, and their mother. Of the sisters, two married 
early, and left the home of their youth Mary as the wife of 
Thomas Boiling, and Martha as that of the generous and 
highly-gifted young Dabney Carr, the brilliant promise of 
whose fc youth was so soon to be cut short by his untimely 

In the fall of the year 1765, the whole family was thrown 
into mourning, and the deepest distress, by the death of Jane 
Jefferson so long the pride and ornament of her house. 
She died in the twenty-eighth year of her age. The eldest 
of her family, and a woman who, from the noble qualities of 
her head and heart, had ever commanded their love and ad- 
miration, her death was a great blow to them all, but was 
felt by none so keenly as by Jefferson himself. The loss of 
such a sister to such a brother was irreparable ; his grief for 


her was deep and constant; and there are, perhaps, few inci- 
dents in the domestic details of history more beautiful than 
his devotion to her during her life, and the tenderness of the 
love with which he cherished her memory to the last days 
of his long and eventful career. He frequently spoke of her 
to his grandchildren, and even in his extreme old age said 
that often in church some sacred air which her sweet voice 
had made familiar to him in youth recalled to him sweet 
visions of this sister whom he had loved so well and buried 
so young. 

Among his manuscripts we find the following touching 
epitaph which he wrote for her : 

"Ah, Joanna, puellarmn optima, 
Ah, ssvi virentis flore pvserepta, 

Sit tibi terra laevis; 
. , Longe, longeque valeto !" 

After the death of his sister Jane, Jefferson had no conge- 
nial intellectual companion left in the family at Shad well; 
his other sisters being all much younger than himself, except 
one, who was rather deficient in intellect. It is curious to 
remark the unequal distribution of talent in this family 
each gifted member seeming to have been made so at the 
expense of one of the others. 

In the severe affliction caused by the death of his sister, 
Jefferson sought consolation in renewed devotion to his 
books. After a five years' course of law studies, he was, as 
we iave seen from his Memoir, introduced to its practice, at 
the bar of the General Court of Virginia, in the year 1767, 
by his "beloved friend and mentor," George Wythe. Of 
the extent of his practice during the eight years that it last- 
ed, we have ample proof in his account-books. These show 
that during that time, in the General Court alone, he was 
engaged in nine hundred and forty-eight cases, and that he 
was employed as counsel by the first men in the colonies, 
and even in the mother-country. 

An idea of the impression made by him as an advocate in 
the court-room is given in the following anecdote, which 


we have from his eldest grandson, Mr. Jefferson Randolph. 
Anxious to learn how his grandfather had stood as a plead- 
er, Mr. Randolph once asked an old man of good sense who 
in his youth had often heard Jefferson deliver arguments in 
court, how he ranked as a speaker, "Well," said the old gen- 
tleman, in reply, " it is hard to tell, because he always took 
the right side." Few speakers, we imagine, would desire a 
greater compliment than that which the old man uncon- 
sciously paid in his reply. 

The works which Jefferson has left behind him as his 
share in the revision of the laws of the State, place his eru- 
dition as a lawyer beyond question, while to no man does 
Virginia owe more for the preservation of her ancient rec- 
ords than to him. In this last work he was indefatigable. 
The manuscripts and materials for the early history of the 
State had been partially destroyed and scattered by the 
burning of State buildings and the ravages of war. These 
Jefferson, as far as it was possible, collected and restored, 
and it is to him that we owe their preservation at the pres- 
ent day. 

While ia the different public offices which he held during 
his life, Jefferson availed himself of every opportunity to get 
information concerning the language of the Indians of North 
America, and to this end he made a collection of the vocabu- 
laries of all the Indian languages, intending, in the leisure of 
his retirement from public life, to analyze them, and see if he 
could trace in them any likeness to other languages. When 
he left Washington, after vacating the presidential chair, 
these valuable papers were packed in a trunk and sent, with 
the rest of his baggage, around by Richmond, whence 'they 
were to be sent up the James and Rivanna Rivers to Monti- 
cello. Two negro boatmen who had charge of them, and 
who, in the simplicity of their ignorance, took it for granted 
that the ex-President was returning from office with untold 
wealth, being deceived by the weight of the trunk, broke 
into it, thinking that it contained gold. On discovering 
their mistake, the papers were scattered to the wind ; and 1 


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thus were lost literary treasures which, might have been a 
rich feast to many a philologist. 

In the year 1770 the house at Shadwell was destroyed by 
fire, and Jefferson then moved to Monticello, where his prep- 
arations for a residence were sufficiently advanced to enable 
him to make it his permanent abode. He was from home 
when the fire took place at Shadwell, and the first inquiry 
he made of the negro who -carried him the news was after 
his books. " Oh, my young master," he replied, carelessly, 
"they were all burnt ; but, ah ! we saved your fiddle." 
| In 1772 Jefferson married Martha Skelton, the widow of 
Bathurst Skelton, and the daughter of John Wayles, of 
whom he speaks thus in his Memoir 

Mr. Wayles was a lawyer -of much practice, to which he 
was introduced more by his industry, punctuality, and prac- 
tical readiness, than by eminence in the science of his profes- 
sion. He was a most agreeable companion, fall of pleasant- 
ry and humor, and welcomed in every society. He acquired 
a handsome fortune, and died in May, 1773, leaving three 
daughters. The portion which came on that event to Mrs. 
Jefferson, after the debts were paid, which were very con- 
siderable, was about equal to my own patrimony, and con- 
sequently doubled the ease of our circumstances. 

The marriage took place at "The Forest," in Charles City 
County. The bride having been left a widow when very 
young, w : as only twenty-three when she married a second 
time.* She is described as having been very beautiful A 
little above middle height, with a lithe and exquisitely form- 
ed figure, she was a model of graceful and queenlike carriage. 
Nature, so lavish with her charms for her, to great personal 
attractions, added a mind of no ordinary calibre. She was 
well educated for her day, and a constant reader; she inher- 

* The license-bond for the marriage, demanded by the laws of Virginia, of 
which a fac-simile is given on the opposite- page, written by Jefferson's own 
hand, is signed by him and by Francis Eppes, whose son afterwards married 
Jefferson's daughter. It will be noticed that the word "*spmster " is erased, 
and "widow " inserted in another hand-writing. 


ited from her father his method and industry, as the accounts, 
kept in her clear handwriting, and still in the hands of her 
descendants, testify. Her well-cultivated talent for music 
served to enhance her charms not a little in the eyes of such 
a musical devotee as Jefferson. 

So young and so beautiful, she was already surrounded by 
suitors when Jefferson entered the lists and bore off the prize. 
A pleasant anecdote about two of his rivals has been pre- 
served in the tradition of his family. While laboring under 
the impression that the lady's mind was still undecided as 
to which of her suitors should be the accepted lover, they 
met accidental!^ in the hall of her father's house. They 
were on the eve of entering the drawing-room, when the 
sound of music caught their ear ; the accompanying voices 
of Jefferson and his lady-love were soon recognized, and the 
two disconcerted lovers, after exchanging a glance, picked 
up their hats and left. 

The New-year and wedding festivities being over, the hap- 
py bridal couple left for Monticello. Their adventures on 
this journey of more than a hundred miles, made in the dead 
of the winter, and their arrival at Monticello, were, years 
afterwards, related as follows, tiy their eldest daughter, Mrs. 
Randolph,* who heard the tale from her father's lips : 

They left The Forest after a fall of snow, light then, but in- 
creasing in depth as they advanced up the country. They 
were finally obliged to quit the carriage and proceed on 
horseback. Having stopped for a short time at Blenheim, 
where an overseer only resided, they left it at sunset to pur- 
sue their way through a mountain track rather than a road, 
in which the snow lay from eighteen inches to two feet deep, 
having eight miles to go before reaching Monticello. They 
arrived late at night, the fires all out and the servants re- 
tired to their own houses for the night. The horrible drear- 

* The manuscript from which I take this account, and from which I shall 
quote frequently in the following pages, was written by Mrs. Randolph at the 
request of Mr. Tucker, who desired to have her written reminiscences of her 
lather when he wrote his life. 

CAME. 45 

mess of such a house at the end of such a journey I have 
often heard both relate. 

Too happy in each other's love, however, to be long troub- 
led by the " dreariness " of a cold and dark house, and hav- 
ing found a bottle of wine " on a shelf behind some books," 
the young couple refreshed themselves with its contents, 
and startled the silence of the night with song and merry 

Possessing a fine estate and being blessed with a beautiful 
and accomplished wife, Jefferson seemed fairly launched upon 
the great ocean of life with every prospect of a prosperous 
and happy voyage. We find from his account-books that 
his income was a handsome one for that day, being three 
thousand dollars from his practice and two thousand from 
his farms. This, as we have seen, was increased by the re- 
ceipt of his wife's fortune at her father's death J 

Of the many friends by whom he was surrounded in his 
college days Dabney Carr was his favorite; his friendship 
for him was strengthened by the ties of family connection, 
on his becoming his brother-in-law as the husband of his sis- 
ter" Martha. As boys, they had loved each other ; and when 
studying together it was their habit to go with their books 
to the well- wooded sides of Monticello, and there pursue their 
studies beneath the shade of a favorite oak. So much at- 
tached did the- two friends become to this tree, that it be- 
came the subject of a mutual promise, that the one who sur- 
vived should see that the body of the other was buried at 
its foot. When young Carr's untimely death occurred Jef- 
ferson was away from home, and on his return he found that 
he had been buried at Shad well. Being mindful of his prom- 
ise, he had the body disinterred, and removing it, placed it 
beneath that tree whose branches now b0nd over such illus- 
trious dead for this was the origin of the grave-yard at 

It is not only as Jefferson's friend that Dabney Carr lives 
in history. The brilliancy of the reputation which he won 


in his short career, has placed his name among the men who 
stot)d first for talent and patriotism in the early days of the 
Revolution. Jefferson himself, in describing his first appear- 
ance in the Virginia House of Burgesses, pays a warm and 
handsome tribute to his friend. He says : 

I well remember the pleasure expressed in the counte- 
nance and conversation of the members generally on this d6- 
but of Mi\ Carr, and the hopes they conceived as well from 

the talents as the patriotism it manifested His 

character was of a high order. A spotless integrity, sound 
judgment, handsome imagination, enriched by education and 
reading, quick and clear in his conceptions, of correct and 
ready elocution, impressing every hearer with the sincerity 
of the heart from which it flowed. His firmness was inflexi- 
ble in whatever he thought was right ; but when no moral 
principle stood in the way, never had man more of the milk 
of human kindness, of indulgence, of softness, of pleasantry 
of conversation and conduct. The number of his friends 
and the warmth of their affection, were proofs of his worth, 
and of their estimate of it. 

We have again from Jefferson's pen a charming picture 
of the domestic character of Carr, in a letter to his friend 
John Page, written in 1770 : 

He (Carr) speaks, thinks, and dreams of nothing but his 
young son. This friend of ours, Page, in a very small house, 
with a table, half a dozen chairs, and one or two servants, is 
the happiest man in the universe. Every incident in life he 
so takes as to render it a source of pleasure. With as much 
benevolence as the heart of man will hold, but with an utter 
neglect of the costly apparatus of life, he exhibits to the 
world a new phenomenon in life the Samian sage in the tub 
of the cynic. 

'The death of this highly-gifted young Virginian, whose 
early life was so full of promise, took place on the 16th of 
May, 1773, in the thirtieth year of his age. His wife, a wom- 
an of vigorous understanding and earnest warmth of heart, 
was passionately devoted to him, and his death fell like a 


blight on her young life. She found in her brother a loving 
protector for herself and a fatherly affection and guidance 
for her six children three sons and three daughters who 
were received into his family as his adopted children. 
Among Jefferson's papers there was found, after his death, 
the following, written on a sheet of note-paper : 


Lamented shade, whom every gift of heaven. 
Profusely blest; a temper winning mild; 
Nor pity softer, nor was truth more bright, ' 
Constant in doing well, he neither sought 
Nor shunned applause. No bashful merit sighed 
Near him neglected : sympathizing he 
Wiped off the tear from Sorrow's clouded eye 
With kindly hand, and taught her heart to smile. 

MALLET'S Excursion. 

Send for a plate of copper to be nailed on the tree at 
the foot of his grave, with this inscription : 

Still shall thy grave with rising flowers be dressed 
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast; 
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, 
There the first roses of the year shall blow, 
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade 
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made. 

On the upper part of the stone inscribe as follows: 

Here lie the remains of 

Son of John and Jane Carr, of Louisa County, 

Who was born , 1744:. 

Intermarried with Martha Jefferson, daughter of Peter 

and Jane Jefferson, 1765; 
And died at Charlottesville, May 16, 1773, 

Leaving six small children. 

To his Virtue, Good Sense, Learning, and Friendship 

this stone is dedicated by Thomas Jefferson, who, of all men living, 

, loved him most. 



Happy Life at Monticello. Jefferson's fine Horsemanship. Birth of his old- 
est Child. Goes to Congress. Death of his Mother. Kindness to Brit- 
ish Prisoners. Their Gratitude. His Devotion to Music. Letter to Gen- 
eral De Riedesel. Is made Governor of Virginia. Tarleton pursues La- 
fayette. Beaches Charlottesville. The British at Monticello. Cornwal- 
lis's Destruction of Property at Elk Hill. Jefferson retires at the End of 
his Second Term as Governor. Mrs. Jefferson's delicate Health. Jeffer- 
son meets with an Accident. Writes his Notes on Virginia. The Mar- 
quis De Chastellux visits Monticello. His Description of it. Letter of 
.Congratulation from Jefferson to Washington. Mrs. Jefferson's Illness 
and Death. Her Daughter's Description of the Scene. Jefferson's Grief. 

FOLLOWING the course which I have laid down for myself, 
I shall give but a passing notice of the political events of 
Jefferson's life, and only dwell on such incidents as may 
throw out in bold relief the beauties and charms of his do- 
mestic character. Except when called from home by duties 
imposed upon him by his country, the even tenor of his hap- 
py life at Monticello remained unbroken. He prosecuted his 
studies with that same ardent thirst for knowledge which he 
had evinced when a young student in Williamsburg, master- 
ing every subject that he took up. 

Much time and expense were devoted by him to orna- 
menting and improving his house and 'grounds. A great 
lover of nature, he found his favorite recreations in out-of- 
door enjoyments, and it was his habit to the day of his 
death, no matter what his occupation, nor what office he 
held, to spend the hours between one and three in the after- 
noon on horseback. Noted for his bold and graceful horse- 
manship, he kept as riding-horses only those of the best 
blood of the old Virginia stock. In the days of his youth 
he was very exacting of his groom in having his horses al- 
ways beautifully kept ; and it is said that it was his habit, 
when his riding-horse was brought up for him to mount, to 


brush his white, cambric handkerchief across the animal's 
shoulders and send it back v to the stable if any dust was left 
on the handkerchief. 

The garden-book lying before me shows the interest which 
he took in all gardening and farming operations. This book, 
in which he began to make entries as early as the year 1766, 
and which he continued to keep all through life, except when 
from home, has every thing jotted down in it, from the date 
of the earliest peach-blossom to the day when his wheat was 
ready for the sickle. His personal, household, and farm ac- 
counts were kept with the precision of the most rigid ac- 
countant, and he was a rare instance of a man of enlarged 
views and wide range of thought, being fond of details. , The 
price of his horses, the- fee paid to a ferryman, his little gifts 
to servants, his charities whether great or small from the 
penny dropped into the church-box to the handsome dona- 
tion given for the erection of a church all found a 4 place in 
his account-book. 

In 1772 his eldest child, Martha, was born; his second 
daughter, Jane Randolph, died in the fall of 1775, when 
eighteen months old. He was most unfortunate in his chil- 
dren out of six that he had, only two, Martha and Mary, 
surviving the period of infancy. 

In the year 1775 Jefferson went to Philadelphia as a mem- 
ber of the first Congress,* In the year 1776 he made the 
following entry in his little pocket account-book: "March 
31. My mother died about eight o'clock this morning, in the 

w * A gentleman who had been a frequent visitor at Monticello during Mr. 
Jefferson's life gave Mr. Randall (Jefferson's biographer) the following amus- 
ing incident concerning this venerated body and Declaration of Independ- 
ence: "While the question of Independence was before Congress, it had 
its meetings near a livery-stable. The members wore short breeches and 
silk stockings, and, with handkerchief in hand, -they were diligently employ- 
ed in lashing the flies from their legs. So very vexatious was this annoy- 
ance, and to so great an impatience did it arouse the sufferers, that it fas- 
tened, if it did not aid, in inducing them to promptly affix their signatured 
to the great document which gave birth to an empire republic. "This an- 
ecdote I had from Mr. Jefferson at Monticello, who seemed to enjoy it very 
much, as well as to give great credit to the influence of the flies. He told it 
with much glee, and seemed to retain a vivid recollection of an attack, from 
which the only relief was signing the paper and flying from the scene." 



57th year of her age." Thus she did not live to see the 
great day with whose glory her son's name is indissolubly 
connected.* . 

The British prisoners who were surrendered by Burgoyne 
at the battle of Saratoga were sent to Virginia and quarter- 
ed in Albemarle, a few miles from Monticello. They had 
not, however, been settled there many months, before the 
Governor (Patrick Henry) was urged to have them moved to 
some other part of the country, on the plea that the provis- 
ions consumed by them were more necessary for our own 
forces. The Governor and Council were on the eve of issu- 
ing the order for their removal, when an earnest Intreaty 
addressed to them by Jefferson put a stop to all proceedings 
on the subject. In this address and petition he says, in 
speaking of the prisoners, 

Their health is also of importance. I would not endeav- , 
or to show, that their lives are valuable to us, because it 
would suppose a possibility that humanity was kicked out 

of doors in America, and interest only attended to | 

But is an enemy so execrable, that, though in captivity, his 1 
wishes and comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed? " 
I think not. It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the 
horrors of war as much as possible. The practice, therefore, 
of modern nations, of treating captive enemies with polite- 
ness and generosity, is not only delightful in contemplation, 
but really interesting to all the world friends, foes, and 

This successful effort in their behalf called forth the most 
earnest expressions of gratitude from the British and Ger- 
man officers among the prisoners. The Baron De Riedesel, 
their commander, was comfortably fixed in a house not far 
from Monticello, and he and the baroness received every at- 
tention from 'Jefferson. Indeed, these attentions were ex- 

* On the opposite page is given a fac-simile of a portion of the original 
draft of the Declaration of Independence ; the greater portion of this para- 
graph was omitted in the document as finally adopted. The interlineations 
in this portion are in the handwriting of John Adams. 


tended to young officers of the lowest rank The hospitali- 
ties of her house were gracefully and cordially tendered to 
these unfortunate strangers by Mrs. Jefferson, and her hus- 
band threw open to them his library, whence they got books 
to while away the tedium of their captivity. The baroness, 
a warm-hearted, intelligent woman, from her immense stat- 
ure, and her habit of riding on horseback en cavalier, was 
long remembered as a kind of wonder by the good and sim- 
ple-hearted people of Albermarle. The intercourse between 
her household and that' at Monticello was that of neigh- 

When Phillips, a British officer whom Jefferson -character- 
ized as "the proudest man of the proudest nation on earth," 
wrote his thanks to him for his generous kindness, we find 
Jefferson replying as follows : 

The great cause which divides our countries is not to be 
decided by individual animosities. The harmony of private 
societies can not weaken national efforts. To contribute by 
neighborly intercourse and attention to make others happy, 
is the shortest and surest way of being happy ourselves. As 
these sentiments seem to have directed your conduct, we 
should be as unwise as illiberal, were we not to preserve the 
same temper of mind. 

He also had some pleasant intercourse and correspondence 
with young De Uhgar, an accomplished officer,, who- seems to 
have had many literary and scientific tastes congenial with 
Jefferson's. He" thus .winds up a letter to this young officer: 

When the course of human events shall have removed you 
to distant scenes of action, where laurels not moistened with 
the blood of my country may be gathered, I shall urge my 
sincere prayers for your obtaining every honor and prefer- 
ment which may gladden the heart of a soldier. On the 
other hand, should your fondness for philosophy resume its 
merited ascendency, is it> impossible to hope that this unex- 
plored country may tempt your residence, by holding out 
materials wherewith to build a fame, founded on the happi- 
ness and not the calamities of human nature ? Be this as it 


may a philosopher or a soldier I wish you personally 
many felicities. 

The following extract from a letter, written in 1778 to a 
friend in Europe, shows Jefferson's extreme fondness of 

If there is a gratification which I envy any people in this 
world, it is, to your country, its music. This is the favorite 
passion of my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country 
where it is in a state of deplorable barbarism. From the 
line of life in which we conjecture you to be,* I have for some 
time lost x the hope of seeing you here. Should the event 
prove so, I shall ask your assistance in procuring a substitute, 
who may b'e a proficient in singing, etc., on the harpsichord. 
I should be contented to receive such an one two or three 
years hence, when it is hoped he may come more safely, and 
find here & greater plenty of those useful things which com- 
merce alone can furnish. The bounds of an American for- 
tune will not admit the indulgence of a domestic band of 
musicians, yet I have thought that a passion for music might 
t)e reconciled with that economy which we are obliged to 

From his correspondence for the year 1780 I take the fol- 
lowing pleasantly written letter to General De RiedeseL I 
have elsewhere alluded to the pleasant intercourse between 
his family and Jefferson's, when he was a prisoner on parole 
in the neighborhood of Monticello. 

To General De Hiedesel. 

Richmond, May 3d, 1780. 

Sir Your several favors of December 4th, February 10th, 
and March 30th, are come duly to hand. I sincerely condole 
with Madame De Riedesel on the birth of a daughter* but 
receive great pleasure from the information of her recovery, 
as every 'circumstance of felicity to her, yourself or family, 
is interesting to us. The little attentions you are pleased 
to magnify so much, never deserved a mention or thought. 
My mortification was, that the peculiar situation in which 

* Jefferson himself had no son. 


we were, put it out of our power to render your stay "here 
more comfortable. I am sorry to learn that the negotiations 
for the exchange of prisoners have proved abortive, as well 
from a desire to see the necessary distresses of war allevi- 
ated in every possible instance, as I ana sensible how far 
yourself and family are interested in it. Against this, how- 
ever, is to be weighed the possibility that we may again 
have a pleasure we should otherwise, perhaps, never have 
had that of seeing you again. Be this as it may, opposed 
as we happen to be in our sentiments of duty and honor, and 
anxious for contrary events, I shall, nevertheless, sincerely 
rejoice in every circumstance of happiness or safety which 
may attend you personally ; and when a termination of the 
present contest shall put it into my power to declare to you 
more unreservedly how sincere are the sentiments of esteem 
and respect (wherein Mrs. Jefferson joins me) which I enter- 
tain for Madame De Riedesel and yourself, and with which I 
am, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, 


Jefferson was made Governor of Virginia in 1779; and 
/when Tarleton, in 17 81, reached Charlottesville, after his fa- 
mous pursuit of " the boy " Lafayette, who slipped through 
his fingers, it was expected that Monticello, as the residence 
of the Governor, would be pillaged. The conduct of the 
British was far different. 

Jefferson, on being informed that the enemy were close at 
hand, put Mrs. Jefferson and her children in a carriage and 
sent them t'o a neighbor's, where they would be out of harm's 
way. Having sent his horse to the blacksmith's to be shod, 
he ordered him to be taken to a certain point of the road be- 
tween Monticello and Carter's Mountain, while he remained 
quietly at home collecting his most valuable papers. Two 
hours after the departure of his family, a gentleman rode up 
and told him that the British were on the mountain. He 
then left the house and walked over to Carter's Mountain, 
whence he had a full view of Charlottesville. He viewed 
the town through a small telescope which he took with him, 
and seeing no " red-coats," thought their coming was a false 


alarm, and turned with the intention of going back to the 
house. He had not gone far, however, when he found his 
light sword-cane had dropped from its sheath. He retraced 
his steps, found the weapon, and, on turning around again, 
saw that Charlottesville was " alive with British." He then 
mounted his horse and followed his family. 

Captain McLeod commanded the party of British soldiers 
who were sent to Monticello to seize the Governor, and he 
went with " strict orders from Tarleton to allow nothing in 
the house to be injured." When he found that the bird 
had flown, he called for a servant of the house, asked which 
were Mr. Jefferson's private apartments, and, being shown 
the door which led to them, he turned the key in the lock 
and ordered that every thing in the house should be un- 

Unprepared for this generous conduct on the part of the 
British, two faithful slaves, Martin and Csesar, were busy 
concealing their master's plate under a floor, a few feet 
from the ground, when the red-coats made their appearance 
on the lawn at Monticello. A plank had been removed, and 
Cassar, having slipped down through the cavity, stood be- 
low to receive the plate as it was handed down by Martin. 
The last piece had been handed down when the soldiers 
came in sight. There was not a moment to lose, and Mar- 
tin, thinking only of his master's plate and not of Caesar's 
comfort, clapped the plank down on top of the poor fellow, 
and there he remained in the dark and without food for 
three days and three nights. Martin himself on this occa- 
sion gave a much more striking proof of fidelity. A brutal 
soldier placed a pistol to his breast and threatened to fire 
unless he disclosed his master's retreat. " Fire away then !" 
was the slave's ready and defiant reply. 

The handsome conduct of the British at Monticello afford- 
ed a striking contrast to that of their forces under the com- 
mand of Cornwallis, who visited Elk Hill Jefferson's James 
River estate. The commanding general, Comwallis, had his 
head-quarters for ten days at the house on the estate. This 


bouse, though not often occupied by Jefferson and his fami- 
ly, was furnished, and contained a library. The following is 
the owner's account of the manner in which the estate was 
laid waste : 

I had time to remove most of the effects out of the house. 
He destroyed all my growing crops of corn and tobacco ; he 
burned all my barns containing the same articles of the last 
year, having first taken what corn he wanted ; he used, as 
was to be expected, all my stock of cattle, sheep, and hogs, 
for the sustenance of his army, and carried off all the horses 
capable of service ; of those too young for service he cut the 
throats ; and he burned all the fences on the plantation, so as 
to render it an absolute waste. He carried off, also, about 
thirty slaves. Had this been to give them freedom he 
would have done right, but it was to consign them to inev- 
itable death from the small-pox and putrid fever then raging 
in his camp. This I knew afterwards to be the fate of twen- 
ty-seven of them. I never had news of the remaining three, 
but suppose they shared the same fate. When I say that 
Lord Cornwallis did all this, I do not mean that he carried 
about the torch in his own hands, but that it was all done 
under his eye the situation of the house in which he was 
commanding a view of every part of the plantation, so that 
he must have seen every fire.* 

Again he writes : 

History will never relate the horrors committed by the 
British army in' the Southern States of America. They 
raged in Virginia six months only, from the middle of April 
to the middle of October, 1781, when they were all taken 
prisoners ; and I give you a faithful specimen of their trans- 
actions for ten days of that time, and on one spot only.f 

At the end of the second year of his term Jefferson re- 
signed his commission as Governor. The state of Mra Jef- 
ferson's health was at this time a source of great anxiety to 
him, and he promised her, when he left public life on this oc- 
casion, that he would never again leave her to accept any 

* Jefferson to Dr. Gordon. t Ibid. 


office or take part in political life. Saddened by the deaths 
of her children, and with a constitution weakened by disease, 
her condition was truly alarming, and wrung the heart of 
her devoted husband as he watched her failing day by day. 
He himself met with an accident about this time a fall 
from his horse which, though not attended with serious 
consequences, kept him, for two or three weeks, more closely 
confined in the house than it was his habit to be. 

It was during this confinement that he wrote the princi- 
pal part of his " Notes on Virginia." He had been in the 
habit of committing to writing any information about the 
State which he thought would be of use to him in any sta- 
tion, public or private ; and receiving a letter from M. De 
Marbois, the French ambassador, asking for certain statis- 
tical accounts of the State of Virginia, he embodied the sub- 
stance of the information he had so acquired and sent it to 
him in the form of the "Notes on Virginia." 

A charming picture of Monticello and its inmates at that 
day is found in " Travels in North America, by the Marquis 
De Chastejlux." This accomplished French nobleman visit- 
ed JefFerson,,in the spring of 1782. After describing his ap- 
proach to the foot of the southwest range of mountains, he 

On the summit of one of them we discovered the house of 
Mr. Jefferson, which stands pre-eminent in these retirements ; 
it was himself who built it, and preferred this situation ; for 
although he possessed considerable property in the neigh- 
borhood, there was nothing to prevent him from fixing his 
residence wherever he thought proper. But it was a debt 
Nature owed to a philosopher, and a man of taste, that in his 
own possessions he should find a spot where he might best 
study and enjoy her. He calls his house Monticello (in Ital- 
ian, Little Mountain), a very modest title, for it is situated 
upon a very lofty one, but which announces the owner's at- 
tachment to the language of Italy ; and, above all, to the 
fine arts, of which that country was the cradle, and is still 
the asylum. As I had no further occasion for a guide, I sep- 
arated from the Irishman; and after ascending by a tolera- 


bly commodious road for more than half an hour we arrived 
at Monticello. This house, of which Mr. Jefferson was the 
architect, and often one of the workmen, is rather elegant, 
and in the Italian taste, though not without fault ; it consists 
of one large square pavilion, the entrance of which is by two 
porticoes, ornamented with pillars. The ground-floor con- 
sists of a very large' lofty saloon, which is to be decorated 
entirely in the antique style ; above it is a library of the 
same form ; two small wings, with only a ground-floor and 
attic story, are joined to this pavilion, and communicate 
with the kitchen, offices, etc., which will form a kind of base- 
ment story, over which runs a terrace. 

My object 'in this short description is only to show the 
difference between this and the other houses of the country ; 
for we may safely aver that Mr. Jefferson is the first Ameri- 
can who has consulted the fine arts to know how he should 
shelter himself from the weather. 

But it is on himself alone I ought to bestow my time. 
Let me describe to you a man, not yet forty, tall and with a 
mild and pleasing countenance, but whose mind and under- 
standing are ample substitutes for every exterior grace. An 
American, who, without ever having quitted his own country, 
is at once a musician, skilled in drawing, a geometrician, an 
astronomer, a natural philosopher, legislator, and statesman. 
A Senator of America, who sat for two years in that body 
which brought about the Revolution; and which is -never 
mentioned without respect, though unhappily not without 
regret, a Governor of Virginia, who filled this difficult station 
during the invasions of Arnold, of Phillips, and of Cornwal- 
lis ; a philosopher, in voluntary retirement from the world 
and public business because he loves the world, in as much 
only as he can flatter himself with being useful to mankind, 
and the minds of his countrymen are not yet in a condition 
either to bear the light or suffer contradiction. A mild and 
amiable wife, charming children, of whose education he him- 
self takes charge, a house to embellish, great provisions to im- 
prove, and the arts and sciences to cultivate ; these are what 
remain to Mr. Jefferson, after having played a principal char- 
acter on the theatre of the New World, and which he pre- 
ferred to the honorable commission of Minister Plenipoten 
tiary in Europe. 


The visit which I made him was not unexpected, for he 
had long since invited me to come and pass a few days with 
him in the centre of the mountains ; notwithstanding which, 
I found his appearance serious nay even cold, but before I 
had been two hours with him, we were as intimate as if we 
had passed our whole lives together; walking, books, but 
above all, a conversation always varied and interesting, al- 
ways supported by the sweet satisfaction experienced by 
two persons, who, in communicating their sentiments and 
opinions, are invariably in unison, and who understand each 
other at the first hint, made four days pass away like so 
many minutes. 

This conformity of opinions and sentiments on which I 
insist because it constitutes my own eulogium (and self-love 
must somewhere show itself), this conformity, I say, was so 
perfect, that not only our taste was similar, but our predilec- 
tions also; those partialities which cold methodical minds 
ridicule as enthusiastic, while sensible and animated ones 
cherish and adopt the glorious appellation. I recollect with 
pleasure that as we were conversing over a bowl of punch, 
after Mrs. Jefferson had retired, our conversation turned on 
the poems of Ossian. It was a spark of electricity which 
passed rapidly from one to the other ; we recollected the 
passages in those sublime poems which particularly struck 
us, and entertained my fellow-travellers, who fortunately 
knew English, well, and were qualified to judge of their mer- 
its, though they had never read the poems. In our enthusi- 
asm the book was sent for, and placed near the bowl, where, 
by their mutual aid, the night far advanced imperceptibly 
upon us. 

Sometimes natural philosophy, at others politics or the 
arts, were the topics of our conversation, for no object had 
escaped Mr. Jefferson ; and it seemed as if from his youth he 
had placed his mind, as he has done his house, on an elevated 
situation, from which he might contemplate the universe.* 

Mr. Jefferson continues the Mai-quis amused himself by 
raising a score of these animals (deer) in his park ; they are 
become very familiar, which happens to all the animals of 
America ; for they are in general much easier to tame than 

* Chastellux's Travels In America, pp. 40-46. 


those of Europe: He amuses himself by feeding them with 
Indian corn, of which they are very fond, and which they cat 
out of bis hand. I followed him one evening into a deep 
valley, where they are accustomed to assemble towards the 
close of the day, and saw them walk, run, and bound ; but 
the more I examined their paces, the less I was inclined to 
annex them to any particular species in Europe. Mr. Jeffer- 
son being no sportsman, and not having crossed the seas, 
could have no decided opinion on this part of natural his- 
tory ; but he has not neglected the other branches. 

I saw with pleasure that he had applied himself particu- 
larly, to meteorological observation, which, in fact, of all the 
branches of philosophy, is the most proper for Americans to 
cultivate, from tie extent of their country and the variety of 
their situation, which gives them in this point a great advan- 
tage over us, who, in other respects, have so many over them. 
Mr. Jefferson has made with Mr. Madison, a well-informed 
professor of mathematics, some correspondent observations 
on the reigning winds at Williamsburg and Monticello.* 

But says the Marquis I perceive my journal is some- 
thing like the conversation I had with Mr. Jefferson ; I pass 
from one object to another, and forget myself as I write, as it 
happened not unfrequently in his society. I must now quit 
the friend of nature, but not Nature herself, who expects me, 
in all her splendor, at the end of my journey ; I mean the 
famous Bridge of Rocks, which unites two mountains, the 
most curious object I ever beheld, as its construction is the 
most difficult of solution. Mr. Jefferson would most willing- 
ly have conducted me thither, although this wonder is up- 
ward of eighty miles from him, and he had often seen it, but 
his wife being expected every moment to lie in, and himself 
being as good a husband as he is an excellent philosopher 
and virtuous citizen, he only acted as my guide for about 
sixteen miles, to the passage of the little river Mechum, when 
we parted, and, I presume to flatter myself, with mutual re- 

The following warm letter of congratulation to General 
. Washington shows the affection felt for him by Jefferson : 

* Vol. ii.,p. 48. t Vol. il, p. 55. 


To General Washington. 

Monticello, October 28th, 1781. 

. Sir I hope it will not "be unacceptable to your Excellen- 
cy to receive the congratulations of a private individual. on 
your return to your native country, and, above all things, on 
the important success which has attended it.* Great as this 
has been, however, it can scarcely add to the affection with 
which we have looked up to you. And if, in the minds of 
any, the motives of gratitude to our good allies were not suf- 
ficiently apparent, the part they have borne in this action 
must amply convince them. Notwithstanding the state of 
perpetual solicitude to which I am unfortunately reduced,f 
I should certainly have done myself the honor of paying my 
respects to you personally ; but I apprehend that these vis- 
its, which are meant by us as marks of our attachment to 
you, must interfere with the regulations of a camp, and be 
particularly inconvenient to one whose time is too precious 
to be wasted in ceremony. 

I beg you to believe me among the sincerest of those who 
subscribe themselves your Excellency's most- obedient and 
most humble servant, 


I The delicate condition of Mrs. Jefferson's health, alluded 
t<\ in the preceding letter, continued to be such as to excite 
the alarm of her friends, and their worst apprehensions were 
soon realized. After the birth of her sixth child she sank so 
rapidly that it was plain there was no hope of her recovery. 
During her illness Jefferson was untiring in his attentions to 
her, and the devotion he showed her was constant and touch- 
ing. The following account of the closing scenes of this do- 
mestic tragedy I take from Mrs. Randolph's manuscript : 

During my mother's life he (Jefferson) bestowed much 
time and attention on our education our cousins, the Carrs, 
and myself and after her death, during the first month of 
desolation ' which followed, I was his constant companion 
while we remained at MonticeUo ...... 

* At Yorktown. f On account of Mrs. Jefferson's health. 


As a nurse no female ever had more tenderness nor anxie- 
ty. He nursed my poor mother in turn T?ith aunt Carr and 
her own sister sitting up with her and administering her 
medicines and drink to the last. For four months that she 
lingered he was never out of calling ; when not at her bed- 
side, he was writing in a small room which opened immedi- 
ately at the head of her bed, A moment before the closing 
scene, he was led from the room in a state of insensibility by 
his sister, Mrs. Carr, who, with great difficulty, got him into 
the library, where he fainted, and remained so long insensi- 
ble that they feared he never would revive. The scene that 
followed I did not witness, but the violence of his emotion, 
when, almost t>y stealth, I entered his room by night, to this 
day I dare not describe to myself. He kept his room three 
weeks, and I was never a moment from his side. He walked 
almost incessantly night and day, only lying down occasion- 
ally, when nature was completely exhausted, on a pallet that 
had been brought in during his long fainting-fit. My aunts 
remained constantly with him for some weeks I do not re- 
member how many. When at last he left his room, he rode 
out, and from that time he was incessantly on horseback, 
rambling about the mountain, in the least frequented roads, 
and just as often through the woods. In those melancholy 
rambles I was his constant companion a solitary witness 
to many a burst of grief, the remembrance of which has con- 
secrated particular scenes of that lost home* beyond the 
power of time to obliterate. 1 

Mrs. Jefferson left three children, Martha, Mary, and Lucy 
Elizabeth the last an infant. As far as it was possible, 
their father, by his watchful care and tender love, supplied 
the place of the mother they had lost. The account of her 
death just given gives a vivid description of his grief, and 
so alarming was the state of insensibility into which he fell, 
that his sister, Mrs. Carr, called to 'his sister-in-law, who was 
still bending over her sister's lifeless body, " to leave the 
dead and come and take care of the living." 

* Mrs. Randolph wrote this after Monticello had been sold and passed into 
the hands of strangers. 


Years afterwards lie wrote the following epitaph for his 
wife's tomb : 

To the Memory of 

Daughter of John Wayles ; 

Born October 19th, 1748, 0. S. j 

Intel-married with 


January 1st, 1772 ; 
Torn from him by Death 

September 6th, 1782 : 
This Monument of his Love is inscribed! 1 

If in the melancholy shades below, 
The flames of friends and lovers cease to glow, 
Yet mine shall sacred last; mine undecayed 
Burn on through death and animate my shade.* 

* These four lines Mr. Jefferson left in the Greek in the original epitaph. 

From Portrait Try Sully. 




Visit to Chesterfield County. Is appointed Plenipotentiary to Europe, 
Letter to the Marquis de Chastellux.- Goes North with his Daughter. 
Leaves her in Philadelphia, and goes to Congress. Letters to his Daugh- 
ter. Sails for Europe. His Daughter's Description of the Voyage. His 
Establishment and Life in Paris. Succeeds Franklin as Minister there. 
Anecdotes of Franklin. Extracts from Mrs. Adams's Letters. Note 
from Jefferson to Mrs. Smith. 

A SHOET time after Mrs. Jefferson's death, Jefferson went 
with his children to Ampthill, in Chesterfield County, the 
residence of Colonel Archibald Cary. This gentleman had 
kindly offered his house to him, that he might there have his 
children inoculated for the small-pox. While engaged as 
their chief nurse on this occasion, he received notice of his 
appointment by Congress as Plenipotentiary to Europe, to 
be associated with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams in negotia- 
ting peace. Twice before the same appointment 'had been 
declined by him, as he had promised his wife never again to 
enter public life while she lived. Mr, Madison, in alluding 
to hip appointment by Congress, says: 

The reappointment of Mr. Jefferson as Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary for negotiating peace, was agreed to unanimously, 
and without a single adverse remark. The act took place 
in consequence of its being suggested that the death of Mi's. 
Jefferson had probably changed the sentiments of Mr. Jeffer- 
son -frith regard to public life.* 

Jefferson himself, in speaking of this appointment, says in 
his Memoir: 

I had, two months before that, lost the cherished compan- 
ion of my life, in whose affections, unabated on both sides, 
I had lived the last ten years in unchequered happiness. 

* Madison Papers. 


With the public interests the state of my mind concurred in 
recommending the change of scene proposed ; and I accept- 
ed the appointment. 

Writing to the Marquis de Chastellux, he says : 

Ampthill, November 26th, 1782. 

Dear Sir I received your friendly letters of and 

June 30th, hut the latter not till the 17th of Octoher. It 
found me a little emerging from the stupor of mind which 
had rendered me as dead to the world as was she whose loss 

occasioned it Before that event my scheme of life 

had heen determined. I had folded myself in the arms of 
retirement, and rested all prospects of future happiness on 
domestic and literary ohjects. A single event wiped away 
all my plans, and left me a blank which I had not the spirits 
to fill up. In this state of mind an appointment from Con- 
gress found me, requiring me to cross the Atlantic. 

Having accepted the appointment, Mr. Jefferson left his 
two youngest children with their maternal aunt, Mrs. Eppes, 
of Eppington, and went North with his daughter Martha, 
then in her eleventh year. Some delay in his departure for 
Europe was occasioned by news received from Europe by 
Congress. During the uncertainty as to the time of his de- 
parture he placed the little Martha at school in Philadelphia, 
under the charge of an excellent and kind lady, Mrs. Hop- 
kinson. From this time we find him writing regularly to 
his daughters during every separation from them, and it is 
in the letters written on those occasions that are portrayed 
most vividly the love and tenderness of the father, and the 
fine traits of character of the man. That the reader may see 
what these were, I shall give a number of these letters, and, 
as far as possible, in their chronological order. 

The original of the first of the following letters is now in the 
possession of the Queen of England. Mr. Aaron Vail, when 
Charge* d' Affaires of the United States at the Court of St. 
James, being requested by Princess Victoria to procure her 
an autograph of Jefferson, applied to a member of Mr. Jeffer- 


son's family, who sent him this letter for the princess. Mr. 
Jefferson was at this time again a member of Congress, 
which was then holding its sessions in Annapolis. 

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. 

Annapolis, Nov. 28th, 1783. 

My dear Patsy After four days' journey, I arrived here 
without any accident, and in as good health as when I left 
Philadelphia. The conviction that you would be more im- 
proved in the situation I have placed you than if still with 
me, has solaced me on my parting with you, which my love 
for you has rendered a difficult thing. The acquirements 
which I hope you will make under the tutors I have pro- 
vided for you will render you more worthy of my love; and 
if they can not increase it, they will prevent its diminu- 
tion. Consider the good lady who has taken you under her 
roof, who has undertaken to see that you perform all your 
exercises, and to admonish you in all those wanderings from 
what is right or what is clever, to which your inexperience 
would expose you : consider her, I say, as your mother, as 
the only person to whom, since the loss with which Heaven 
has pleased to afflict you, you can now look up ; and that 
her displeasure or disapprobation, on any occasion, will be 
an immense misfortune, which should you be so unhappy as' 
to "incur by any unguarded act, think no concession too much 
to regain her good-will. With respect to the distribution of 
your time, the following is what I should approve : 

From 8 to 10, practice music. 

From 10 to 1, dance one day and draw another. 

From 1 to 2, draw on the day you dance, and write a let- 
ter next day. 

From 3 to 4, read French. 

From 4 to 5, exercise yourself in music. 

From 5 till bed-time, read English, write, etc. 

Communicate this plan to Mrs. Hopkinson, and if she ap- 
proves of it, pursue it. As long as Mrs. Trist remains in 
Philadelphia, cultivate her affection. She has been a valu- 
able friend to you, and her good sense and good heart make 
her valued by all who know her, and by nobody on earth 
more than me, I expect you will write me by every post. 


Inform me what books you read, what tunes you learn, and 
inclose me your best copy of every lesson in drawing. 
Write also one letter a week either to your Aunt Eppes, 
your Aunt Skipwith, your Aunt Carr, or the little lady* from 
whom I now inclose a letter, and always put the letter you 
so write under cover to me. Take care that you never spell 
a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider 
how it is spelt, and, if you do not remember it, turn to a dic- 
tionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well. 
I have placed my happiness on seeing you good and accom- 
plished ; and no distress which this world can now bring on 
me would equal that of your disappointing my hopes. If 
you love me, then strive to be good under every situation 
and to all living creatures, and to acquire those accomplish- 
ments which I have put in your power, and which will go far 
towards ensuring you the warmest love of your affectionate 


P.S. Keep my letters and read them at times, that you 
may always have present in your mind those things which 
will endear you to me, 

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. 

Annapolis, Dec. llth, 1783. 

1 hope you will have good sense enough to disregard those 
foolish predictions that the world is to be at an end soon. 
The Almighty has never made known to any body at what 
time he created it ; nor will he tell any body when he -$ill 
put an end to it, if he ever means to do it. As to prepara- 
tions for that event, the best way is for you always to be 
prepared for it. The only way to be so is, never to say or 
do a bad thing. If ever you are about to say any thing 

* Her little sister, Mary Jefferson. 

t We find the key to this and the letter following it in the following para- 
graph of a letter from Mrs. Trist to Mr. Jefferson : " Patsy is very hearty ; she 
now and then gives us a call. She seems happy, much more so than I ex- 
pected. When you write, give her a charge ahout her dress, which will be a 
hint to Mrs. H. to be particular with her. De Simitiere complains that his 
pupil is rather inattentive. You can be particular to these matters when 
you write, but don't let her know you heard any complaints. I fancy the old 
lady is preparing for the other world, for she conceits the earthquake we had 
the other night is only a prelude to something dreadful that will happen." 


amiss, or to do any thing wrong, consider beforehand you 
will feel something within you which will tell you it is 
wrong, and ought not to be said or done. This is your con- 
science, and be sure and obey it. Our Maker has given us 
till this faithful internal monitor, and if you always obey it 
you will always be prepared for the end of the world ; or for 
a much more certain event, which is death. This must hap- 
pen to all ; it puts an end to the world as to us ; and the 
way to be ready for it is never to do a wrong act. 

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. \Mctract.~\ 

Annapolis, Dec. 22d, 1783. 

I omitted in that letter to advise you on the subject of 
dress, which I know you are a little apt to neglect. I do not 
wish you to be gaily clothed at this time of life, but that your 
wear should be fine of its kind. But above all things and at 
'all times let your clothes be neat, whole, and properly put on. 
Do not fancy you must wear them till the dirt is visible to 
the eye. You will be the last one who is sensible of this. 
Some ladies think they may, under the privileges of the de- 
shdbiUe, be loose and negligent of their dress in the morning. 
But be you, from the moment you rise till you go to bed, as 
cleanly and properly dressed as at the hours of dinner or tea. 
A lady who has been seen as a sloven or a slut in the mom- 
ing, will never efface the impression she has made, with all 
the dress and pageantry she can afterwards involve herself 
in. Nothing is so disgusting to our sex as a want of cleanli- 
ness and delicacy in yours. I hope, therefore, the moment 
you rise from bed, your first work will be to dress yourself 
in such style, as that you may be seen by any gentleman 
without his being able to discover a pin amiss, or any other 
circumstance of neatness wanting. 

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. 

Annapolis, Jan. 15th, 1783. 

My dear Martha I am anxious to know what books you 
read, what tunes you play, and to receive specimens of your 
drawing. With respect to your meeting M. Simiti&re* at 
Mr. Rittenhouse's, nothing could give me more pleasure than 

* M. Simitiere was a Frenchman, from whom, as his letters show, Mr. Jef- 
ferson was anxious for his daughter to take drawing lessons. 


your "being much with that worthy family, wherein you will 
see the best examples of rational life, and learn to esteem and 
copy them. But I should be very tender of intruding you 
on the family ; as it might, perhaps, be not always conven- 
ient for you to be there at your hours of attending M. Simi- 
tiere. I can only say, then, that if it has been desired by Mr. 
and Mrs. Rittenhouse, in such a manner as that Mrs. Hopkin- 
son shall be satisfied that they will not think it inconven- 
ient, I would have you thankfully accept it ; and conduct 
yourself with so much attention to the family as that they 
may never feel themselves incommoded by it. I hope Mrs. 
Hopkinson will be so good as to act for you in this matter 
with that delicacy and prudence of which she is so capable. 
I have much at heart your learning to draw, and should be 
uneasy at your losing this opportunity, which probably is 
your last. 

Thomas Jeff&rson to Martha Jefferson. [Mctract.] 

Annapolis, February 18th, 1784. 

I am sorry M. Simitiere can not attend you, because it is 
probable you will never have another opportunity of learn- 
ing to draw, and it is a pretty and pleasing accomplishment. 
With respect to the payment of the guinea, I would wish 
him to receive it ; because if there is to be a doubt between 
him and me which of us acts rightly, I would wish to remove 
it clearly off my own shoulders. You must thank Mrs. 
Hopkinson for me for the trouble she gave herself in this 
matter ; from which she will be relieved by paying M. Simi- 
tiere his demand. 

In the spring of this year (1784) Mr. Jefferson received 
definite orders from Congress to go to Europe as Minister 
Plenipotentiary, and act in conjunction with Dr. Franklin 
and Mr. Adams in negotiating treaties of commerce with 
foreign nations. He accordingly sailed in July, taking with 
him his young daughter Martha. The following description 
of his voyage, establishment in Paris and life there, is from 
her pen. The other two children, Mary and Lucy Elizabeth, 
were left with their good aunt, Mm Eppes. Mrs. Randolph 
says, in her manuscript : 


He sailed from Boston in a ship of Colonel Tracy's (the 
Ceres, Capt. St. Barbe) ; the passengers only six in number 
of whom Colonel Tracy himself was one, were to a certain 
degree select, being chosen from many applying. The voy- 
age was as pleasant as fine weather, a fine ship, good com- 
pany, and an excellent table could make it. From land to 
land they were only nineteen days', of which they were be- 
calmed three on the Banks of Newfoundland, which were 
spent in cod-fishing. The epicures of the cabin feasted on 
fresh tongues and sounds, leaving the rest of the fish for the 
sailors, of which much was thrown overboard for want of 
salt to preserve it. We were landed at Portsmouth, where 
he was detained a week by the illness of his little travelling 
companion, suffering from the effects of the voyage. Noth- 
ing worthy of note occurred on the voyage or journey to 

On his first arrival in Paris he occupied rooms in the Ho- 
tel d'Orl^ans, Hue de$ Petits Augustins, until a house could 
be got ready for him. His first house was in the Cul-jle-sac 
T6tebout, near the Boulevards. At the end of the year he re- 
moved to a house belonging to M. le Corate de L'Avongeac, 
at the corner of the Grande Route des Champs ElysSes and 
the Rue Neuve de Berry, where he continued as long as he 
remained in Paris. Colonel Humphreys, the secretary of le- 
gation, and Mr. Short, his private secretary, both lived with 
him. The house was a very elegant one even for Paris, with 
an extensive garden, court, and outbuildings, in the hand- 
somest style. 

He also had rooms in the Carthusian Monastery on Mount 
Calvary ; the boarders, of whom I think there were forty, 
carried their own servants, and took their breakfasts in their 
own rooms. They assembled to dinner only. They had the 
privilege of walking in the gardens, but as it was a hermit- 
age, it was against the rules of the house for any voices to 
be heard outside of their own rooms, hence the most pro- 
found silence. The author of Anacharsis was a boarder at 
the time, and many others who had reasons for a temporary 
retirement from the world. Whenever he had a press of 
business, he was in the habit of taking his papers and going 
to the hermitage, where he spent sometimes a week or more 
till he had finished his work. The hermits visited him occa- 


sionally in Paris, and the Superior made him a present of an 
. ivory broom that was turned by one of the brothers. 

His habits of study in Paris were pretty much what they 
were elsewhere. He was always a very early riser and the 
whole morning was spent in business, generally writing till 
one o'clock, with the exception of a short respite afforded 
by the breakfast-table, at which he frequently lingered, con- 
versing willingly at such times. At one o'clock he always 
rode or walked as far as seven miles into the country. Re- 
turning from one of these rambles, he was on one occasion 
joined by some friend, and being earnestly engaged in con- 
versation he fell and broke his wrist. He said nothing at 
the moment, but holding the suffering limb with the other 
hand, he continued the conversation until lie arrived near to 
his own house, when, informing his companion of the acci- 
dent, he le'ft him to send for the surgeon. The fracture was 
a complicated one and probably much swollen before the ar- 
rival of the surgeon ; but it was not set, and remained ever 
after weak and. stiff. While disabled by this accident he 
was in the habit of writing with his left hand, in which he 
soon became tolerably expert the writing being well-form- 
ed but stiff. A few years before his death another fall de- 
prived him in like manner of the use of his left hand, which 
rendered him very helpless in his hands, particularly for 
writing, which latterly became very slow and painful to 
him He kept me with him till I was sent to a con- 
vent in Paris, where his visits to me were daily for the first 
month or two, till in fact I recovered my spirits. 

Nothing could have been more congenial or delightful to 
him than the society in which Jefferson moved in Paris. At 
the head of an elegant establishment, as an American and 
the friend of Lafayette, his house was the favorite resort of 
all the accomplished and gallant young French officers who 
had enthusiastically taken up arms in defense of the great 
cause of liberty in the New World ; while as a philosopher 
and the author of the " Notes on Virginia," his society was 
sought for and enjoyed by the most distinguished savants 
and men of science, who thronged from all parts of Europe 
to the great French capital. Nor were the ease and grace 


of his address, the charms of his eloquent conversation, and 
the varied extent of his learning, lost upon the witty and 
handsome women who were found at the court of the amia- 
ble young Louis the Sixteenth and of his queen, the lovely 
Marie Antoinette so sadly pre-eminent for beauty and mis- 
fortune. His social intercourse with them, and the pleasant 
friendships formed for many, we discover in his gracefully- 
written letters to them. 

Mr. and Mrs. John Adams were in Paris with Jefferson, 
and Mrs. Adams pays a graceful tribute to his talents and 
worth in her letters home, and in one of them speaks of him 
as being one of the " choice ones of the earth." His inter- 
course with his two colleagues, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, 
was of the most delightful character, and by both he was sin- 
cerely loved and esteemed. The friendship then formed be- 
tween Mr. Adams and himself withstood, in after years, all the 
storms and bitterness of political life, at a time when, perhaps, 
party feeling and prejudice ran higher than ever before. 

When Franklin returned home, loaded with all the honors 
and love that the admiration of the French people could lav- 
ish on him, Jefferson was appointed to take his place as Min- 
ister from the United States at the Court of St. Germains. 
cc You replace Dr. Franklin," said Count de Vergennes, the 
French Premier, to him " I succeed him ; no one could re- 
place him," was Jefferson's ready reply. Perhaps no great- 
er proof of Jefferson's popularity in Paris could be given, 
than the fact that he so soon became 9, favorite in that 
learned and polished society in which the great Franklin 
had been the lion of the day. I quote from Jefferson's writ- 
ings the following anecdotes of Franklin, which the reader 
will not find out of place here : 

When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary 
mission, his eminence as a philosopher, his venerable appear- 
ance, and the cause on which he was sent, rendered him ex- 
tremely popular for all ranks and conditions of men there 
entered warmly into the American interest. He was, there- 


fore, feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these 
he sometimes met the old Duchess of Bourbon, who being a 
.chess-player of about his force, they very generally played 
together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the 
Doctor took it. "Ah," says she,." we do not take kings so." 
" We do in America," said the Doctor. 

" At one of these parties the Emperor Joseph IL, then at 
Paris incog, under the title of Count Falkenstein, was over- 
looking the game in silence, while the company was en- 
gaged in animated conversations on the American question. 
" How happens it, M. le Comte," said the Duchess, " that 
while we all feel so much interest in the cause of the Ameri- 
cans, you say nothing for them?" "I am a king by trade," 
said he. 

The Doctor told me at Paris the following anecdote of 
the Abb6 Raynal: He had a party to dine with him one 
day at Passy, of whom one half were Americans, the other 
half French, and among the las^t was the Abb6. During the 
dinner he got on his favorite theory of the degeneracy of 
animals and even of man in America, and urged it with his 
usual eloquence. The Doctor, at length noticing the acci- 
dental stature and position of his guests at table, " Come," 
says he, " M. 1'Abbe, let us tiy this question by the fact be- 
fore us. We are here, one half Americans and one 'half 
French, and it happens that the Americans have placed 
themselves on one side of the table, and our French friends 
are on the other. Let both parties rise, and we will see on 
which side nature has degenerated." It happened that his 
American guests were Carmichael, Harmer, Humphreys, and 
others of the finest stature and form ; while those of the 
other side were remarkably diminutive, and the Abb6 
himself, particularly, was a mere shrimp. He parried 
the appeal, however, by a complimentary admission of 
exceptions, among which the Doctor himself was a conspic- 
uous one. 

The following interesting quotations from Mrs. Adams's 
letters, in which she alludes to Mr. Jefferson, will be found 
interesting here. To her sister she writes: 

There is now a court mourning, and every foreign minis- 


ter, with his family, must go into mourning for a Prince of 
eight years old, whose father is an ally to the King of France. 
This mourning is ordered by the Court, and is to be worn 
eleven days only. Poor Mr. Jefferson had to hie away for a 
tailor to get a whole black silk suit made up in two days ; 
and at the end of eleven days, should another death happen, 
he will be obliged to have a new suit of mourning of cloth, 
because that is the season when silk must be left off. 

To her niece Mrs. Adams writes : 

Well, my dear niece"! have returned from Mr. Jeffer- 
son's. When I got there I found a pretty large company. 
It consisted of the Marquis and Madame de Lafayette ; the 

Count and Countess de ; a French Count who had been 

a general in America, but whose name I forget ; Commodore 
Jones ; Mr. Jarvis, an American gentleman lately arrived 

(the same who married Anfelia B ), who says there is so 

strong a likeness between your cousin and his lady, that he 
is obliged to be upon his guard lest he should think himself 
at home, and commit some mistake he appears a very sen- 
sible, agreeable gentleman ; a Mr. Bowdoin, an American 
also ; I ask the Chevalier de la Luzerne's pardon I had like 
to have forgotten him ; Mr. Williams, of course, as he always 
dines with Mr. Jefferson ; and Mr. Short though one of Mr. 
Jefferson's family, as he has been absent some time I name 
him. He took a resolution that he would go into a French 
family at St. Germain, and acquire the language ; and this is 
the only way for a foreigner to obtain it. I have often wish- 
ed that I could not hear a word of English spoken. I think 
I have mentioned Mr. Short before, in some of my letters ; he 
is about the stature of Mr. Tudor ; a better figure, but much 
like him in looks and manners ; consequently a favorite of 

They have some customs very curious here. When com- 
pany are invited to dine, if twenty gentlemen meet, they sel- 
dom or never sit down, but are standing or walking from 
one part of the room to the other, with their swords on, and 
their chapeau de bras, which is a very small silk hat, always 
worn tinder the arm. These they lay aside while they dine, 
but reassume them immediately after. I wonder how the 


fashion of standing crept in among a nation who really de- 
serve the appellation of polite ; for in winter it shuts out all 
the fire from the ladies; I know I have suffered from it 
many times. 

At dinner, the ladies and gentlemen are mixed, and you 
converse with him who sits next you, rarely speaking to two 
persons across the table, unless to ask if they will be served 
with any thing from your side. Conversation is never gen- 
eral as with us ; for, when the company quit the table,*they 
fall into tete-d~t$te of two and two, when the conversation is 
in a low voice, and a stranger unacquainted with the cus- 
toms of the country, would think that every body had pri- 
vate business to transact. 

Mrs. Adams writes to her sister : 

We see as much company in a formal way as our revenues 
will admit ; and Mr. Jefferson, with one or two Americans, 
visits us in the social, friendly way. I shall really regret to 
leave Mr. Jefferson ; he is one of the choice ones of the earth. 
On Thursday, I dine with him at his house. On Sunday he 
is to dine here. On Monday we all dine with the Marquis. 

The intimate and friendly relations which existed between 
Mr. Jefferson and Mrs. Adams's family is seen from the fol- 
lowing playful note from him to her daughter, Mrs. Smith : 

Mr. Jefferson has the honor to present' his compliments to 
Mrs. Smith and to send her the two pair of corsets she de- 
sired. He wishes they may be suitable, as Mrs. Smith omit- 
ted to send her measure. Times are altered since Mademoi-' 
selle de Sanson had the honor of knowing her ; should they be 
too small, however, she will be so good as to lay them by a 
while. There are ebbs as well as flows in this world. When 
the mountain refused -to come to Mahomet, he went to the 
mountain. Mr.' Jefferson wishes Mrs. Smith a happy new- 
year, and abundance of happier ones still to follow it. He 
begs leave to assure her of his esteem and respect, and that 
he shall always be happy to be rendered useful to her by 
being charged with her commands. 

Paris, Jan. 15, 1787. 



Jefferson's first Impressions of Europe. Letter to Mrs. Trist. To Baron 
De Geismer. He visits England. Letter to his Daughter. To his Sister. 

Extract from his Journal kept when in England. Letter to John Page. 

Presents a Bust of Lafayette to chief Functionaries of Paris. Breaks 
his Wrist. Letter to Mrs. Trist. Mr. and Mrs, Cosway. Correspond- 
ence with Mrs. Cosway. Letter to Colonel Carrington. To Mr. Madi- 
son. To Mrs. Bingham, Her Reply. 

impressions of Europe and of the French 
are found in the following extracts from his letters written 
to America at that time : 

Extract from a JLetter to- Mrs. Trist. 

Paris, August 18th, 1785. 

I am much pleased with the people of this country. The 
roughnesses of the human mind are so thoroughly rubbed 
off with them, that it seems as if one might glide through a 
whole life among them without a jostle. Perhaps, too, their 
manners may be the best calculated for happiness to a peo- 
ple in their situation, but I am convinced they fall far short 
of effecting a happiness so temperate, so uniform, and so last- 
ing as is generally enjoyed with us. The domestic bonds 
here are absolutely done away, and where can their compen- 
sation be found ? Perhaps they may catch some moments 
of transport above the level of the ordinary tranquil joy we 
experience, but they are separated by long intervals, during 
which all the passions are at sea without a rudder or a com- 
pass. Yet, fallacious as the pursuits of happiness are, they 
seem, on the whole, to furnish the most effectual abstraction 
from the contemplation of the hardness of their government. 
Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how so good a people, with 
so good a king, so well-disposed rulers in general, so genial 
a climate, so fertile a soil, should be rendered so ineffectual 
for producing human happiness by one single curse that of 
a bad form of government But it is a fact in spite of the 


mildness of their governors, the people are ground to pow- 
der by the vices of the form of government. Of twenty mil- 
lions of people supposed to be in France, I am of opinion 
there are nineteen millions more wretched, more accursed, in 
every circumstance of human existence, than the most con- 
spicuously wretched individual of the whole United States. 
I beg your pardon for getting into politics. I will add only 
one sentiment more of that character that is, nourish peace 
with their persons, but war against their manners. Every 
step we take towards the adoption of their manners is a step 
to perfect misery. 

In a fit of homesickness, he writes to the Baron de Geis- 
mer, Sept. 6 : 

To Baron de Geismer. 

I am now of an age which does not easily accommodate 
itself to new modes of living and new manners ; and I am 
savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds and independ- 
ence of Monticello, to all' the brilliant pleasures of this gay 
capital. I shall, therefore, rejoin myself to my native coun- 
try with new attachments and exaggerated esteem for its 
advantages ; for though there is less wealth there, there is 
more freedom, more ease, and less misery. I should like it 
better, however, if it could tempt you once more to visit it; 
but that is not to be expected. Be this as it may, and 
whether fortune means to allow or deny me the pleasure 
of ever seeing you again, be assured that the worth which 
gave birth to my attachment, and which still animates it, 
will continue to keep it up while we both live, and that it is 
with sincerity I subscribe myself, etc., etc. 

Early in the month of March of the following year (1786) 
Mr. Jefferson went for a short while to England. Before 
leaving, he wrote a letter of adieu to his daughter Martha, 
then at school in a convent in Paris. The following is an 
extract from this letter : 

To Martha Jeff&rson. [Extract.] 

Paris, March 6th, 1786. 
I need not tell you what pleasure it gives me to see you 


improve in every thing useful and agreeable; The more 
you learn the more I love you ; and I rest the happiness of 
my life on seeing you beloved by all the world, which you 
will be sure to be, if to a good heart you join those accom- 
plishments so peculiarly pleasing in your sex. Adieu, my 
dear child ; lose no moment in improving your head, nor 
any opportunity of exercising your heart in benevolence. 

The following letter to*his sister proves him to have been 
as devoted and thoughtful a brother as father : 

To Ann S. Jefferson. 

London, April 22d, 1786. 

My dear Nancy Being called here for a short time, and 
finding that I could get some articles on terms here of which 
I thought you might be in want, I have purchased them for 
you. They are two pieces of linen, three gowns, and some 
ribbon. The j are done up in paper, sealed, and packed in a 
trunk, in which I have put some other things for Colonel 
Nicholas Lewis. They will of course go to him, and he will 
contrive them to you. I heard from Patsy a few days ago ; 
she was well. I left her in France, as my stay here was to 
be short. I hope my dear Polly is on her way to me. I de- 
sired you always to apply to Mr. Lewis for what you should 
want; but should you at any time wish any thing particular 
from France, write to me and I will send it to you. Doctor 
Currie can always forward your letters. Pray remember 
me to my sisters Carr and Boiling, to Mr. Boiling and their 
families, and be assured of the sincerity with which I am, my 

dear Nancy, your affectionate brother, 


While in England, Jefferson visited many places of interest 
there, and kept a short journal, of which we give the heading, 
and from which we make one quotation : 

Mctractfrom Journal. 


Memorandums made on a Tour to some of the Gardens in England, described 

by Whately in his Book on Gardening. 

While his descriptions, in point of style, are models of 
perfect elegance and classical correctness, they are as re- 



markable for their exactness. I always walked over the 
gardens with his book in my hand, examined with attention 
the particular spots which he described, found them so justly 
characterized by him as to be easily recognized, and saw 
with wonder that his fine imagination had never been able 
to seduce him from the truth. My inquiries were directed 
chiefly to such practical things as might enable me to esti- 
mate the expense of making and maintaining a garden in 
that style. My journey was in ?he months of March and 

April, 1786 

Blenheim. Twenty-five hundred acres, of which two hun- 
dred is garden, one hundred and fifty water, twelve kitchen- 
garden, and the rest park. Two hundred people employed 
to keep it in order, and to make alterations and additions. 
About fifty of these employed 1 in pleasure-grounds. The 
turf is mowed once in ten days. In summer, about two 
thousand fallow-deer in the park, and two or three thousand 
sheep. The palace of Henry IL was remaining till taken 
down by Sarah, widow of the first Duke of Marlborough. 
It was on a round spot levelled by art, near what is now 
water, and but a little above it. The island was a part pf 
the high-road leading to the palace. Rosamond's Bower 
was near where now is a little grove, about two hundred 
yards from the palace. The well is near where the bower 
was. The water here is very beautiful and very grand. 
The cascade from the lake is a fine one ; except this the gar- 
den has no great beauties. It is not laid out in fine lawns 
and woods ? but the trees are scattered thinly over the 
ground, and every here and- there small thickets of shrubs, 
in oval raised beds, cultivated, and flowers among the 
shrubs. The gravelled walks are broad; art appears too 
much. There are but a few seats in it, and nothing of archi- 
tecture more dignified. There is no one striking position in 
it. There has been great addition to the length of the river 
since Whately wrote. 

In a letter written, after his return to Paris, to his old 
friend, John Page, of Virginia, Mr. Jefferson speaks thus of 
England : 


To John Page. 

I returned but three or four days ago from a two months' 
trip to England. I traversed that country much, and must 
own both town and country fell short of my expectations. 
Comparing it with this, I have found a much greater propor- 
tion of barrens, a soil, in other parts, not naturally so good 
as this, not better cultivated, but better manured, and there- 
fore more productive. This proceeds from the practice of 
long leases there, and short ones here. The laboring people 
are poorer here than in England. They pay about one half 
of their produce in rent, the English in general about one 
third. The gardening in that country is the article in which 
it excels all the earth. I mean their pleasure-gardening. 
This, indeed, went far beyond my ideas. The city of Lon- 
don, though handsomer than Paris, is not so handsome as 
Philadelphia, Their architecture is in the most wretched 
style I ever saw, not meaning to except America, where it is 
bad, nor even Virginia, where it is worse than any other part 
of America which I have seen. The mechanical arts in Lon- 
don are carried to a wonderful perfection. 

His faithful little pocket account-book informs us that he 
paid, "for seeing house where Shakspeare was born, Is. ; see- 
ing his tomb, 1 5.5 entertainment, 45. 2$. ; servants, 2s." 

In the fall of this year Jefferson, on behalf of the State of 
Virginia, presented to the city authorities of Paris a bust 
of his distinguished friend, the Marquis de Lafayette, which 
was inaugurated with all due form and ceremony and placed 
in the Hotel de Ville. A few months^ later he wrote the fol- 
lowing letter: 

To Mrs. Trist. 

Dear Madam I have duly received your friendly letter 
of July 24, and received it with great pleasure, as I do all 
those you do me the favor to write me* If I have been long 
in acknowledging the receipt, the last cause to which it 
should be ascribed would be want of inclination. Unable 
to converse with my friends in person, I am happy when I 
do it in black and white. The true cause of the delay has 
been an unlucky dislocation of my wrist, which has disabled 


me from writing three months. I only begin to write a lit- 
tle now, but with pain. I wish, while in Virginia, your curi- 
osity had led you on to James River. At Richmond you 
would have seen your old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Randolph, 
and a little farther you would have become acquainted with 
my friend, Mrs. Eppes, whom you would have found among 
the most amiable women on earth. I doubt whether you 
would ever have got away from her. This trip would have 
made you better acquainted too with my lazy and hospita- 
ble countrymen, and you would have found that their char- 
acter has some good traits mixed with some feeble ones. I 
often wish myself among them, as I am here burning the 
candle of life without present pleasure or future object. A 
dozen or twenty years ago this scene would have amused 
me ; but I am past the age for changing habits. I take all 
the fault on myself, as it is impossible to be among a people 
who wish more to make one happy a people of the very 
best character it is possible for one to have. We have no 
idea in America of the real French character ;, with some 

true samples we have had many false ones 

Living from day to day, without a plan for four-and-twen- 
ty hours to come, I form no catalogue of impossible events. 
Laid up in port for life, as I thought myself at one time, I 
am thrown out to sea, and an unknown one to me. By so 
slender a thread do all our plans of life hang ! My hand 
denies itself farther, every letter admonishing me, by a pain, 
that it is time to finish, but my heart would go on in ex- 
pressing to you all its friendship. The happiest moments it 
knows are those in which it is pouring forth its affections to 
a few esteemed characters. I will pray you to write to me 
often. I wish to know that you enjoy health and that you 
are happy. Present me in the most friendly terms to your 
mother and brother, and be assured of the sincerity of the 
esteem with which I am, dear madam, your affectionate 
friend and humble servant, 


Among the many pleasant friendships formed by Jeffer- 
son in Paris, there was none that he prized more than that 
of Mr. and Mrs. Cosway. Both were artists ; but the hus- 
band was an Englishman, while the wife was born under the 



more genial skies of Italy. Possessing all that grace and 
beauty which seem to be the unfailing birthright of an 
Italian, she united to a bright and well-cultivated intellect 
great charms of manner and sweetness of disposition. Her 
Southern warmth of manner, and the brilliancy of her wit 
and conversation were fascinations which few could resist, 
and which made her one of the queens of Parisian society. 
In Jefferson she found a congenial friend, and held his 
worth, his genius, and his learning in the highest estima- 
tion. When her husband and herself left Paris, she opened 
a correspondence with him, and it was at the beginning of 
this correspondence that he addressed to her that beautiful 
and gracefully written letter, called the " Dialogue between 
the Head and Heart," which is found in both editions of his 
published correspondence. Mrs. Cosway's own letters are 
sprightly and entertaining. I have lying before me the 
originals of some that she wrote to Jefferson, from which I 
give the following extracts, only reminding the reader that 
they are written in a language which to her was foreign, 
though the Italian idiom adds grace and freshness to the 
sweet simplicity of these letters. Many of them are with- 
out date. 

Mrs. Cosway to Thomas Jefferson. 

Paris, , 1786. 

You don't always judge by appearances, or it would be 
much to my disadvantage this day, without deserving it ; 
it has been the day of contradiction. I meant to have 
seen you twice, and I have appeared a monster for not 
having sent to know how you were the whole day.* I 
have been more uneasy than I can express. This morning 
my husband killed my project I had proposed to him, by 
burying himself among pictures and forgetting the hours. 
Though we were near your house, coming to see you, we 
were obliged to come back, the time being much past that 
we were to be at St. Cloud, to dine with the Duchess of 

* Mr. Jefferson, the reader will remember, was at this time suffering with 
his broken wrist. 



Kingston. Nothing was to hinder us from coming in the 
evening, but, alas ! my good intentions proved only a dis- 
turbance to your neighbors, and just late enough to break 
the rest of all your servants, and perhaps yourself. I came 
home with the disappointment of not having been able to 
make my apologies in propria persona. I hope you feel my 
distress instead of accusing me; the one I deserve, the 
other not. We will come to see you to-morrow morning, 
if nothing happens to prevent it. Oh ! I wish you were 
well enough to come to us to-morrow to dinner, and stay 
the evening. I won't tell you what I shall have ; tempta- 
tions now are cruel for your situation. I only mention 
my wishes. If the executing them should be possible, your 
merit will be greater, as my satisfaction the more flattered. 
I would serve you and help you at dinner, and divert your 
pain after with good music. Sincerely your friend, 


Mrs. Cosway to Thomas Jefferson. 

I am very sorry indeed, and blame myself for having 
been the cause of your pains in the wrist. Why would you 
go, and why was I not more friendly to you, and less so to 
myself by preventing your giving me the pleasure of your 
company? You repeatedly said it would do you no harm. 
I felt interested and did not insist. We shall go, I believe, 
this morning. Nothing seems ready, but Mr. Cosway seems 
more disposed than I have seen him all this time. I shall 
write to you from -England ; it is impossible to be wanting 
to a person who has been so excessively obliging. I don't 
attempt to make compliments there can be none for you, 
but I beg you will think us sensible to your kindness, and 
that it will be with exquisite pleasure I shall remember the 
charming days we have passed together, and shall long for 
next spring. 

You will make me very happy if you would send a line to 
the paste restante at Antwerp, that I may know how you 
are. Believe me, dear sir, your most obliged, affectionate 


The letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mrs. Cosway containing 


the " Dialogue between the Head and Heart," though too 
long to be given here in full, is too beautiful to be omitted 
altogether. I accordingly give the following extracts : 

Thomas Jeff&rson to Mrs. Cosway. 

Paris, October 12, 1786. 

My dear Madam Having performed the last sad office 
of handing you into your carriage at the Pavilion de St. 
Denis, and seen the wheels get actually in motion,, I turned 
on my heel and walked, more dead than alive, to the oppo- 
site door, where . my own was awaiting me. M. Danguer- 
ville was missing. He was sought for, found, and dragged 
down stairs. We were crammed into the carriage like re- 
cruits for the Bastile, and not having soul enough to give 
orders to the coachman, he presumed Paris our destination, 
and drove off. After a considerable interval, silence was 
broken, with a "Je suis vraiment affiige du depart de ces bons 
gens." This was a signal for a mutual confession of dis- 
tress. He began immediately to talk of Mr. and Mrs. Cos- 
way, of their goodness, their talents, their amiability ; and 
though we spoke of nothing else, we seemed hardly to have 
entered into the matter, when the coachman announced the 
Rue St. Denis, and that we were opposite M. Danguerville's. 
He insisted on descending there and traversing a short pas- 
sage to his lodgings. I was carried home. Seated by my 
fireside, solitary and sad, the following dialogue took place 
between my Head and my Heart. 

Head. Well, friend, you seem to be in a pretty trim. 

Heart* I am, indeed, the most wretched of all earthly beings. Over- 
whelmed with grief, every fibre of my frame distended beyond its natural 
powers to bear, I would willingly meet whatever catastrophe should leave me 
no more to feel, or to fear 

Head. It would have been happy for you if my diagrams and crotchets 
had gotten you to sleep on that day, as you are pleased to say they eternally 

do While I was occupied with these objects, you were dilating with 

your new acquaintances, and contriving how to prevent a separation from 
them. Every soul of you had an engagement for the day. Yet all these 
were to be sacrificed, that you might dine together. Lying messages were 
to be dispatched into every quarter of the city, with apologies for your 
breach of engagement. You, particularly, had the effrontery to send word 
to the Duchess Danville, that on the moment we were setting out to dine 
with her, dispatches came to hand which required immediate attention. 
You wanted me to invent a more ingenious excuse, but I knew you were 


getting into a scrape, and I would have nothing to do with it. Well ; after 
dinner to St. Cloud, from St. Cloud to Ruggieri's, from Ruggieri's to Krum- 
foltz ; and if the day had been as long as a Lapland summer day, you would 
still have contrived means among you to have filled it. 

Heart. Oh! my dear friend, how you have revived me, by recalling to my 
mind the transactions of that day! How well I remember them all, and 
that when I came home at night, and looked back to the morning, it seemed 
to have been a month agone. Go on, then, like a kind comforter, and paint 
to me the day we went to St. Germains. How beautiful was every object ! 
the Pont de Renilly, the >"H along the Seine, the rainbows of the machine of 
Marly,' the terras of St. Germains, the chateaux, the gardens, the statues of 
Marly, the pavilion of Lucienne. Recollect, too, Madrid, Bagatelle, the 
King's Garden, the Dessert. How grand the idea excited by the remains of 
such a column. The spiral staircase, too, was beautiful 

Heart. God only knows what is to happen. I see nothing impossible in 
that proposition :* and I see things wonderfully contrived sometimes, to make 
us happy. Where could they find such objects as in America for the exer- 
cise of their enchanting art ? especially the lady, who paints landscapes so 
inimitably. She wants only-subjects worthy of immortality to render her 
pencil immortal. The Falling Spring, the Cascade of Niagara, the Passage 
of the Potomac through the Blue Mountains, the Natural Bridge ; it is worth 
a voyage across the Atlantic to see these objects ; much more to paint, and 
make them, and thereby ourselves, known to all ages. And our own dear 
Monticello where has Nature spread so rich a mantle under the eye? 
mountains, forests, rocks, rivers. With what majesty do we ride above the 
storms!- How sublime to look down into the workhouse of Nature, to see 
her clouds, hail, snow, rain, thunder, all fabricated at our feet ! and the glo- 
rious sun, when rising as if out of a distant water, just gilding the tops of the 
mountains, and giving life to all nature ! I hope in God no circumstance 

may ever make either seek an asylum from grief! Deeply practiced 

in the school of affliction, the human heart knows no joy which I have not 
lost, no sorrow of which I have not drunk ! Fortune can present no grief of 
unknown form to me ! Who, then, can so softly bind up the wound of an- 
other as he who has felt the same wound himself? 

I thought this a favorable proposition whereon to rest the 
issue of the dialogue. So I put an end to it by calling for 
my night-cap* Methinks I hear you wish to Heaven I had 
called a little sooner, and so spared you the ennui of such a 
sermon "We have had incessant rains since your de- 
parture. These make me fear for your health, as well as 
that you had' an uncomfortable journey. The same cause 
has prevented me from being able to give you an account 
of your friends here. This voyage to Fontainebleau will 
probably send the Count de Moustier and the Marquis de 

* That is, Mr. and Mrs. Cosway to visit America. 


Brehan to America. Danguerville promised to visit me but 
has not done it yet. De la Tude comes sometimes to take 
family soup with me, and entertains me with, anecdotes of 
his five-and-thirty years' imprisonment. How fertile is the 
mind of man, which can make the Bastile and dungeon of 
Vincennes yield interesting anecdotes ! You know this was 
for making four verses on Madame De Pompadour. But I 
think you told me you did not know the verses. They were 
these : 

"Sans esprit, sans sentiment, 
Sans etre belle, ni neuve, 
En Prance on peut avoir le premier amant: 
Pompadour en est 1'epreuve." 

I have read the memoir of his three escapes. As to myself, 
my health is good, except my wrist, which mends slowly, 
and my mind, which mends not at all, but broods constantly 
over your departure. The lateness of the season obliges me 
to decline my journey into the South of France. Present 
me in the most friendly terms to Mr. Cosway, and receive 
me into your own recollection with a partiality and warmth, 
proportioned not to my own poor merit, but to the senti- 
ments of sincere affection and esteem, with which I have the 
honor to be, my dear Madam, your most obedient, humble 


The following letter, written in a sprightly and artless 
style, will be found more than usually interesting, from the 
allusion in it to Sheridan's great speech in the trial of War- 
ren Hastings that scene of which Macaulay's enchanted pen 
has left so brilliant a picture. A few awkward expressions 
in this charming letter remind us that its author wrote in a 
foreign language. 

Mrs. Cosway to Thomas Jefferson. 

London, February 15th, 1788. 

I have the pleasure of receiving two letters from you, and 
though very short I must content myself, and lament much 
the reason that deprived me of their usual length. I must 
confess that the beginning of your correspondence has made 
me an enfant-g&tee. I shall never learn to be reasonable in 


my expectations, and shall feel disappointed whenever your 
letters are riot as long as the first was ; thus you are the oc- 
casion of a continual reproaching disposition in me. It is a 
disagreeable one, and it will tease you into a hatred towards 
me, notwithstanding the partiality you have had for me till 
now, for nothing disobliges more than a dissatisfied mind, 
and that my fault is occasioned by yourself you will be the 
most distant to allow. I trust your friendship would wish 
to see me perfect and mine to be so, but defects are, or are 
not, most conspicuous according to the feelings which we 
have for the objects which possess them 

I feel at present an inclination to make you an endless let- 
ter, but have not yet determined what subject to begin with. 
Shall I continue this reproaching style, quote all the whats 
and whys out of Jeremiah's Lamentations, and then present 
you with some outlines of Job for consolation ? Of all tor- 
ments, temptations, and wearinesses, the female has always 
been the principal and most powerful, and this is to be felt 
by you at present from my pen. Are you to be painted in 
future ages, sitting solitary and sad on the beautiful Monti- 
cello, tormented by the shadow of a woman, who will present, 
you a deformed rod, broken and twisted, instead of the em- 
blematical instrument belonging to the Muses, held by Gen- 
ius, inspired by Wit ; and with which all that is beautiful and 
happy can be described so as to entertain a mind capable of 
the highest enjoyments? 

I have written this in memoria- of the many pages of 
scrawls addressed to ypu by one whose good intentions re- 
pay you for your beautiful allegories with such long, insipid 
chit-chat.* Allegories, however, are always far-fetch- 
ed, and I don't like to follow the subject, though I might find 
something which would explain my ideas. 

Suppose I turn to the debates of Parliament ? Were I a 
good politician, I could entertain you much. What do you 
think of a famous speech Sheridan has made, which lasted 
four hours, which has astonished every body, and which has 
been the subject of conversation and admiration of the whole 
town ? Nothing has been talked of for many days but this 
speech. The whole House applauded him at the moment, 

* An allusion to the " Dialogue between the Head and Heart." 


each member complimented him when they rose, and Pitt 
made him the highest encomiums. Only poor Mr. Hastings 
suffered for the power of his eloquence, though nothing can 
be decided yet. Mr. H. was with Mr. Cosway at the very 
moment the trial was going on ; he seemed perfectly easy 
talking on a variety of subjects with great tranquillity and 
cheerfulness. The second day he was" the same, but on the 
third seemed very much affected and agitated. All his 
friends give him the greatest character of humanity, gene- 
rosity, and feeling ; amiable in his manner, he seems, in short, 
totally different from the disposition of cruelty they accuse 
him of. Turning from parliamentary discussions, it is time 
to tell you that I have been reading with great pleasure your 
descriptions of America;* it is writen by you, but Nature 
represents all the scenes to me in reality, therefore do not 
take any thing to yourself; I must refer to your name to 
make it the more valuable to me, but she is your rival you 
her usurper. Oh ! how I wish myself in those delightful 
places ! those enchanted grottoes ! those magnificent mount- 
ains, rivers, etc., etc., etc. 1 Why am I not a man, that I 
might set out immediately, satisfy my curiosity, and indulge 
ray sight with wonders ? 

I go to very few parties. I have a dislike for them, and I 
have grown so excessively indolent that I do not go out for 
months together. All the morning I paint whatever pre- 
sents itself most pleasing to me. Sometimes I have beauti- 
ful objects to paint from, and add historical characters to 
make them 'more interesting. Female and infantine beauty 
is the most perfect to see. Sometimes I indulge in those 
melancholy subjects in which History often represents her- 
selfthe horrid, the grand, the sublime, the sentimental, or 
the pathetic. I attempt, I exercise in them all, and end by 
being witness of my own disappointment and incapacity for 
executing the Poet, the Historian, or the conceptions of my 
own imagination. Thus the mornings are spent regretting 
they are not longer, to have more time to attempt again in 
search of better success, or thinking they have been too long, 
as they have afforded me many moments of uneasiness and 
anxiety, and a testimony of my not being able to do any thing. 

* Meaning, doubtless, his "Notes on Virginia." 


I devote my evenings to music, and then I am much visit- 
ed by the first Professors, who come to play, often every even- 
ing, something new, and are all perfect in their kind. To 
complete the pleasure, a small society of agreeable friends 
frequently come to see me, and in this manner you see that 
I am more attached to my home than to going in search of 
amusement out, where there are nothing but crowded as- 
semblies, uncomfortable heat, and not the least pleasure in 
meeting any body, not being able to enjoy any conversation. 
The Operas are very bad, tho' Zubenelli and Madame Mosa 
are the first singers ; the dancers, too, are very bad; all this 
I say from report, as I have not been yet. Pray tell- me 
something about Madame De Polignac ; they make a great 
deal about it here ; we hardly hear any thing else, and the 
stories are so different from one another that it is impossible 
to guess the real one. She is expected in England. 

I send this letter by a gentleman whom I think you will 
like. He is a Spaniard. I am partial to that nation, as I 
know several who are very agreeable. He is going to Paris 
as Secretary of Embassy at that Court. He has travelled 
much, and talks well. If I should be happy enough to come 
again in the summer to Paris, I hope we shall pass many 
agreeable days. I am in a million fears about it ; Mr. Cos- 
way still keeps to his intentions, but how many chances from 
our inclinations to the gratification of our wishes. Poor 
D'Ancarville has been very ill I received a long letter 
from him appointing himself my correspondent at Paris. I 
know a gentleman who causes my faith to be weak on this 
occasion, for he flattered me with hopes that I have seen fail ; 
nevertheless I have accepted this offer, and shall see if I find 
a second disappointment. 

Is it not time to finish my letter? Perhaps I might go on, 
but I must send this to the gentleman who is to take it. 

I hope you are quite well by this time, and that your hand 
will tell me so by a line. I must be reasonable, but give me 
leave to remind you how much pleasure you will 'give by re- 
membering sometimes with friendship one who will be as 
sensible and grateful of it as is, yours sincerely, 


In a letter to Colonel Edward Carrington, written early in 


January, 1787J Jefferson thus notices the meeting of the Not- 
ables : 

To Colonel Carrington, 

In my letter to Mr. Jay I have mentioned the meeting of 
the Notables, appointed for the 29th instant. It is now put 
off to the 7th or 8th of next month. This event, which will ' 
hardly excite any attention in America, is deemed here the 
most important one which has taken place in their civil line 
during the present century. Some promise their country 
great things from it, some nothing. Our friend De Lafay- 
ette was placed on the list originally. Afterwards his name 
disappeared; but finally was reinstated. This shows that 
his character here is not considered as an indifferent one; 
and that it excites agitation. His education in our school 
has drawn on him a very jealous eye from a court whose 
principles are the most absolute despotism. But I hope he 
has nearly passed his crisis. The King, who is a good ifcan, 
is favorably disposed towards him; and he is supported by 
powerful family connections, and by the public good-will. 
He is the youngest man of the Notables, except one whose 
office placed him on the list. 

In a letter written to Madison a few days later, he gives a 
few sketches of character which we quote, only reminding 
the reader of Jefferson's great intimacy with Madison, to 
whom he consequently wrote more freely of men and meas- 
ures than to any one else. 

To James Madison. 

Paris, January 30th, 1787. 

As you have now returned to Congress, it will become of 
importance that you 'should form a just estimate of certain 
public characters, on which, therefore, I will give you such 
notes as my knowledge of them has- furnished me with. 
You will compare them with the materials .you are other- 
wise possessed of, and decide on a view of the whole. 

You know the opinion I formerly entertained of my friend 

Mr. Adams A seven months' intimacy with him here, 

and as- many weeks in London, have given me opportunities 
df studying him closely. He is vain, irritable, and a bad cal- 


culator of the force and probable effect of the motives which 
govern men. This is all the ill which can possibly be said 
of him. He is as disinterested as the Being who made him ; 
he is profound in his views and accurate in his judgment, where knowledge of the world is necessary to form a 
judgment. He is so amiable, that I pronounce you will love 
him if ever you become acquainted with him. He would 
be, as he was, a great man in Congress 

The Marquis de Lafayette is a most valuable auxiliary 
to me. His zeal is unbounded, and his weight with those in 
power great. His education having been merely military, 
commerce was an unknown field to him. But, his good sense 
enabling him to comprehend perfectly whatever is explain- 
ed to him, his agency has been very efficacious. He has a 
great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the king, 
and is rising in popularity. He has nothing against him 
but a suspicion of republican principles. I think he will one 
day be of the ministry. His foible is a canine appetite for 
popularity and fame ; but he will get over this. The Count 
de Vergennes is ill. The possibility of his recovery renders 
it dangerous for us to express a dpubt of it ; but he is in 
danger. He is a great minister in European affairs, but has 
very imperfect ideas of our institutions, and no confidence in 
them. His devotion to the principles of pure despotism ren- 
ders him unaffectionate to our governments. 'But his fear 
of England makes him value us as a make-weight. He is 
cool, reserved in political conversations, but free and familiar 
on other subjects, and a very attentive, agreeable person to 
do business with. It is impossible to have a clearer, better 
organized head; but age has chilled his heart. 

Nothing should be spared on our part to attach this 
country to us. It is the only one on which we can rely for 
support under every event. Its' inhabitants love us more, I 
think, than they do any other nation on earth. This is very 
much the effect of the good dispositions with which the 
French officers- returned. In a former letter I mentioned to 
you the dislocation of my wrist. Lean make not the least 
use of it except for the single article of writing, though it is 
going on five months since the' accident happened. I have 
great anxieties lest I should never recover any considerable 
use of it. I shall, by the advice of my surgeons, set out in*a 


fortnight for the waters of Aix, in Provence. I chose these 
Dut .of several they proposed to me, because if they fail to be 
effectual, my journey will not be useless altogether. It will 
yive me an opportunity of examining the canal of Langue- 
ioc, and of acquiring knowledge of that species of naviga- 
tion, which may be useful hereafter I shall be absent 

between two and three months, unless any thing happens to 
recall me here sooner; which may always be effected in ten 
days, in whatever part of my route I may be. 

In speaking of characters, I omitted those of Eayneval 
and Hennin, the two eyes of the Count de Vergennes. The 
former is the most important character, because possessing 
the most of the confidence of the Count. He is rather cun- 
ning than wise, his views of things being neither great nor 
liberal. He governs himself by principles which he has 
learned by rote, and is fit only for the details of execution. 
His heart is susceptible of little passions, but not of good 
ones. He is brother-in-law to M. Gerard, from whom he re- 
ceived disadvantageous impressions of us which can not be 
effaced. He has much duplicity. Hennin is a philosopher, 
sincere, friendly, liberal, learned, beloved by every body ; the 
other by nobody. I think it a great misfortune that the 
United States are in the department of the former. As par- 
ticulars of this kind may be useful to you in your present 
situation, I may hereafter continue the chapter. I know it 
will be safely lodged in your discretion. I send you by 
Colonel Franks your pocket-telescope, walking-stick, and 
chemical-box. The two former could not be combined to- 
gether. The latter could not be had in the form you refer- 
red to. Having a great desire to have a portable copying- 
machine, and being satisfied, from some experiments, that the 
principle of the large machine might be applied in a small 
one, I planned one when in England, and had it made. It 
answers perfectly. I have since set a workman to making 
them here, and they are in such demand that he has his 
hands full. Being assured that you will be pleased to have 
one, when you shall have tried its convenience, I send you 
one by Colonel Franks. The machine costs ninety-six livres, 
the appendages twenty-four livres, and I send you paper and 
ink for twelve livres; in all one hundred and thirty-two li- 
'vres. There is a printed paper of directions ; but you must 


expect to make many essays before you succeed perfectly. 
A soft brush like a shaving-brush is more convenient than 
the sponge. You can get as much paper and ink. as you 
please from London. The paper costs a guinea a ream. I 
am, dear sir, with sincere esteem and affection, your most 
humble and obedient servant, 


The following charmingly written letter to one of his lady 
friends gives a spirited picture of the life of a Parisian belle: 

To Mrs. Bingham. 

Paris, February 7th, 1787. 

I know, Madam, that the twelvemonth is not yet expired ; 
but it will be, nearly, before this will have the honor of 
being put into your hands. You are then engaged to tell 
me, truly and honestly, whether you do not find the tranquil 
pleasures of America preferable to the empty bustle of Par- 
is. For to what does the bustle tend ? At eleven o'clock 
it is day, chez madame. The curtains are drawn. Propped 
on bolsters and pillows, and her head scratched into a little 
order, the bulletins of the sick are read, and the billets of the 
well. She writes to some of her acquaintances, and receives 
the visits of others. If the morning is not very thronged, 
she is able to get out and hobble around the cage of the Pa- 
lais Royal ; "but she must hobble quickly, for the coiffeur's 
turn is come ; and a tremendous turn it is ! Happy if he 
does not make her arrive when dinner is half over ! The 
torpitude of digestion a little passed, she flutters for half an 
hour through the streets, by way of paying visits, and then 
to the spectacles* These finished, another half-hour is de- 
voted to dodging in and out of the doors of her very sincere 
friends, and away to supper. After supper, cards ; and after 
cards, bed to rise at noon the next day, and to tread, like a 
mill-horse, the same trodden circle over again. Thus the 
days of life are consumed, one by one, without an object be- 
yond the present moment ; ever flying from the ennui of 
that, yet carrying it with us ; eternally in pursuit of happi- 
ness, which keeps eternally before us. If death or bankrupt- 
cy happen to trip us out of the circle, it is matter for the 
buzz of the evening, and is completely forgotten by the next 


morning. In America, on the other hand, the society of 
your husband, the fond cares for the children, the arrange- 
ments of the house, the improvements of the grounds, fill ev- 
ery moment with a useful and healthy activity. Every ex- 
ertion is encouraging, because to present amusement it joins 
the promise of some future good. The intervals of leisure 
are filled by the society of real friends, whose affections are 
not thinned to cobweb, by being spread over a thousand ob- 
jects. This is the picture, in the light it is presented to my 
mind ; now let me have it in yours. If we do not concur 
this year, we shall the next ; or if not then, in a year or two 
more. You see I am determined not to suppose myself mis- 

To let you see that Paris is not changed in its pursuits ' 
since it was honored with your presence, I send you its 
monthly history. But this relating only to the embellish- 
ments of their persons,! must add, that those of the city go 
on well also. A new bridge, for example, is begun at the 
Place Louis Quinze; the old ones are clearing of the rubbish 
which encumbered them in the form of houses ; new hospi- 
tals erecting ; magnificent walls of inclosure, and custom- 
houses at their entrances, etc., etc. I know of no interesting 
change among those whom you have honored with your ac- 
quaintance, unless Monsieur de Saint James was of that num- 
ber. . His bankruptcy, and taking asylum in the Bastile, 
have furnished matter of astonishment. His garden at the 
Pont de Neuilly, where, on seventeen acres of ground, he had 
laid out fifty thousand louis, will'probably sell for somewhat 
less money. The workmen of Paris are making rapid strides 
towards English perfection. Would you believe that, in 
the coiirse of the last two years, they have learned even to 
surpass their London rivals in some articles? Commission 
me to have you a phaeton made, and if it is not as much 
handsomer than a London one as that is than a fiaere, send 
it back to me. Shall I fill the box with caps, bonnets, eta ? 
not of my own choosing, but I was going to say of Ma- 
demoiselle Bertin's, forgetting for the moment that she too is 
bankrupt. They shall be chosen, then, by whom you please ; 
or, if you are altogether nonplused by her eclipse, we will 
call an Assemblee des Notables, to help you out of the diffi- 
culty, as is now the fashion. In short, honor me with your 



commands of any kind, and they shall be faithfully executed. 
The packets now established from Havre to New York fur- 
nish good opportunities of sending whatever you wish. 

I shall end where I began, like a Paris day, reminding you 
of your engagement to write me a letter of respectable 
length, an engagement the more precious to me, as it has 
furnished me the occasion, after presenting my respects to 
Mr. Bingham, of assuring you of the sincerity of those sen- 
timents of esteem and respect with which I have the honor 
to be, dear Madam, your most obedient and most humble 



Mrs. Itingham to Thomas Jefferson. 

June 1st, 1787. 

I am too much flattered by the honor of your letter from 
Paris not to acknowledge it by the earliest opportunity, 
and to assure you that I am very sensible of your atten- 
tions. The candor with which you express your*sentiments 
merits a sincere declaration of mine. I agree with you that 
many of the fashionable pursuits of the Parisian ladies are 
rather frivolous, and become uninteresting to a reflective 
mind ; but the picture you have exhibited is rather over- 
charged ; you have thrown a strong light upon all that is' 
ridiculous in their characters, and you have buried their 
good qualities in the shade. It shall be my task to bring 
them forward, or at least to attempt it. The state of socie- 
ty in different countries requires corresponding manners and 
qualifications. Those of the French women are by no means 
calculated for the meridian of America, neither are they 
adapted to render the sex so amiable or agreeable in the 
English, acceptation of those words. But you must confess 
that they are more accomplished, and understand the inter- 
course of society better, than in any other country. We are 
irresistibly pleased with them, because they possess the hap- 
py art of making us pleased with ourselves. Their educa- 
tion is of a higher cast, and by great cultivation they pro- 
cure a happy variety of genius, which forms their conversa- 
tion to please either the fop or the philosopher. 

In what other country can be found a Marquise de Coigny, 
who, young and handsome, takes a lead in all the fashionable 


dissipations of life, and at more serious moments collects at 
her house an assembly of the literati, whom she charms with 
her knowledge and her Id esprit. The women of France 
interfere with the politics of 'the country, and often give a 
decided turn to the fate of empires. Either by the gentle 
arts of persuasion, or the commanding force of superior at- 
tractions and address, they have obtained that rank and con- 
sideration in society which the sex are entitled to, and which 
they in vain contend for in other countries. We are there- 
fore bound in gratitude to admire and revere them for as- 
' serting our privileges, as much as the friends of the liberties 
of mankind reverence the successful struggles of the Ameri- 
can patriots. 

The agreeable resources of Paris must certainly please and 
instruct every class of characters. The arts of elegance are 
there considered as essential, and are carried to a state of 
perfection, and there the friend of art is continually gratified 
by the admiration for works of taste. I have the pleasure 
of knowing you too well to doubt of your subscribing to 
this opinion. With respect to my native country, I assure 
you that I am fervently attached to it, as well as to my 
friends and connections in it ; there, perhaps, there is more 
sincerity in professions, and a stronger desire of rendering 
real services, and when the mouth expresses the heart speaks. 

I am sensible that I shall tire you to death with the length 
of this letter, and had almost forgotten that you are in Paris, 
and that every instant of your time is valuable, and might 
be much better employed than I can possibly do it. How- 
ever,! shall reserve a further examination of this subject to 
the period when I can have the happiness of meeting you, 
when we will again resume it. I feel myself under many 
obligations for your kind present of les modes de Paris. 
They have furnished our ladies with many hints for the dec- 
oration of their persons, and I have informed them to whom 
they are indebted. I shall benefit by your obliging offer of 
service, whenever I shall have occasion for a fresh importa- 
tion of fashions ; at present I am well stocked, having lately 
received a variety of articles from Paris. 

Be so kind as to remember me with affection to Miss Jef- 
ferson. Tell her she is the envy of all the young ladies in 
America, and that I should wish nothing so much as to place 


my little girl under her inspection and protection, should 
she not leave Paris before I revisit it. I shall hope for the 
pleasure of hearing from you, and if you accompany another 
book of fashions with any new operas or comedies you will 
infinitely oblige me. It is quite time I bade you adieu ; but 
remember this first of June I am constant to my former opin- 
ion, nor can I believe that any length of time will change it. 
I am determined to have some merit in your eyes, if not for 
taste and judgment, at least for consistency. Allow me to 
say, my dear sir, that I am sincerely and respectfully yours, 




Death of Count de Vergennes. Jefferson is ordered to Aix by his Surgeon. 
Death of his youngest Child. Anxiety to have his Daughter Mary with 
him. Her Reluctance to leave Virginia. Her Letters to and from her Fa- 
ther. Jefferson's Letters to Mrs. and Mr. Eppes. To Lafayette. To the 
Countess de Tesse. To Lafayette. Correspondence with his Daughter 

IN a letter written to Mr. Jay on the 23d of February, 
1787, Mr. Jefferson says: 

The event of the Count de Vergennes's death, of which I 
had the honor to inform you in a letter of the 4th instant, 
the appointment of the Count Montmorin, and the propriety 
of my attending at his first audience, which will be on the 
27th, have retarded the journey I proposed a few days. 

The journey above mentioned was a trip to Aix, whither 
he was ordered by his surgeon, in order to try the effect of 
its mineral-waters on his dislocated wrist. In the letters 
which he wrote to his daughter Martha, while absent on 
this occasion, he alludes frequently to his youngest daugh- 
ter, Mary, or Polly, as she was sometimes called. As I 
have before mentioned, she and her younger ' sister, Lucy, 
were left by their father in Virginia, with their kind uncle 
and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Eppes. Lucy died in the fall of the 
year 1784, and her death was announced to her father in a 
letter from Mr. Eppes, who writes : 

I am sorry to inform you that my fears about the welfare 
of our children, which I mentioned in my last, were, too well 
founded. Yours, as well as our dear little Lucy, have fallen 
sacrifices to the most horrible of all disorders, the whooping- 
cough. They both suffered as much pain, indeed more than 
ever I saw two of their ages experience. We were happy 


in having had every experience this country afforded ; how- 
ever, they were beyond the reach of medicine.* 

The death of this child was felt keenly by Jefferson. Af- 
ter getting established in Paris, he became impatient to have 
his little daughter Mary with him. She did not join him, 
however, until the year 1^87, her uncle and aunt being loath 
to part with her, and no good opportunity occurring for get- 
ting her across the Atlantic. The child herself could not 
bear the thought of being torn from the kind uncle and 
aunt, whom she had learned to love so devotedly, to go to 
a strange land. I have lying before me a package of her 
letters to her father, whose sweet, childish prattle must be 
excuse enough for their appearing here, trivial though they 
seem. The first was written for her by her aunt. The oth- 
ers are in the huge, grotesque-looking letters of a child just 
beginning to write. The following was written before her 
father had left Philadelphia : 

Mary Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 

Eppington, April llth, 1784. 

My dear Papa I want to know what day you are going 
to come and see me, and if you will bring sister Patsy and 
my baby with you. I was mighty glad of my sashes, and 
gave Cousin Boiling one. I can almost read. 
Tour affectionate daughter, 


* With the tender sensibility of a mother, Mrs. Eppes announced this event 
to Jefferson in the following touching lettter : 

Eppington, October 13th, 1784. 

Dear Sir It is impossible to paint the anguish of my heart on this melan- 
choly occasion. A most unfortunate whooping-cough has deprived you and 
us of two sweet Lucys within a week. Ours was the first that fell a sacrifice. 
She was thrown into violent convulsions, lingered out a week, and then died. 
Your dear angel was confined a week to her bed, her sufferings were great, 
though nothing like a fit ; she retained her senses perfectly, called me a few 
minutes before she died and asked distinctly for water. Dear Polly has had 

it most violently, though always kept about, and is now quite recovered 

Life is scarcely supportable under such severe afflictions. Be so good as to 
remember me most affectionately to my dear Patsy, and heg she will exctfse 
my not writing till the gloomy scene is a little forgotten. I sincerely hope 
you are both partaking of every thing that can in the smallest degree enter- 
tain and make you happy. Our warmest affections attend you both. 

Your sincere friend, E. EPPES. 


It is touching to see how gently her father tries to recon- 
cile her, in the following letter, to her separation from her 
good uncle and aunt, and how he attempts to lure her to 
France with the promise that she shall have in Paris " as 
many dolls and playthings " as she wants. 

Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson. 

Paris, Sept 20th, 1785. 

My dear Polly I have not received a letter from you 
since 1 came to France. If you knew how much I love you 
and what pleasure the receipt of your letters gave me at 
Philadelphia, you would have written to me, or at least have 
told your aunt what to write, and her goodness would have 
induced her to take the trouble of writing it. I wish so 
much to see you, that I have desired your uncle and aunt to 
send you to me. I know, my dear Polly, how sorry you will 
be, and ought to be, to leave them and your cousins ; but 
your sister and myself can not live without you, and after a 
while we will carry you back again to see your friends in 
Virginia. In the mean time you shall be taught here to 
play on the harpsichord, to draw, to dance, to read and talk 
French, and such other things as will make you more worthy 
of the love of your friends ; but above all things, by~ our care 
and love of you, we will teach you to love us more than you 
will do if you stay so far from us. I have had no opportunity 
since Colonel Le Maire went, to send you any thing ; but 
when you come here you shall have as many dolls and play- 
things as you want for yourself, or to send to your cousins 
whenever you shall have opportunities. I hope you are a 
very good girl, that you love your uncls and aunt very 
much, and are very thankful to them for all their goodness 
to you ; that you never suffer yourself to be angry with any 
body, that you give your playthings to those who want 
them, that you do whatever any body desires of you that is 
right, that you never tell stories, never beg for any thing, 
mind your books and your work when your aunt tells you, 
nfever play but when she permits you, nor go where she for- 
bids you ; remember, too, as^a constant charge, not to go out 
without your bonnet, because it will make you very ugly, 
and then we shall not love you so much. If you always 


practice these lessons we stall continue to love you as we 
do now, and it is impossible to love you any more. "We 
shall hope to have you with us next summer, to find you 
a very good girl, and to assure you of the truth of our affec- 
tion for you. Adieu, my dear child. Yours affectionately, 


Mary Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 

Dear Papa I long to see you, and hope that you and sis- 
ter Patsy are well ; 'give my love to her and tell her that I 
long to see her, and hope that you and she will come very 
soon to see us. I hope that you will send me a doll I am 
very sorry that you have sent for me* I don't want to go 
to France, I had rather stay with Aunt Eppes. Aunt Carr, 
Aunt Nancy and Cousin Polly Carr are here. Your most 
happy and dutiful daughter, 


Dear Papa I should he very happy to see you, but I can 
not go to France, and hope that you and sister Patsy are 
well. Your affectionate daughter. Adieu. 


Dear Papa I want to see you and sister Patsy, but you 
must come to Uncle Eppes's house. 


Mr. Jefferson's anxieties about his little daughter crossing 
the ocean, and his impatience to fold her once more in his 
arms, are vividly portrayed in the following letter : 

ZTiomas Jefferson to Mrs. JEppes. 

, Paris, Sept 22d, 1785. 

Dear Madam The Mr. Fitzhughs having staid here 
longer than they expected, I have (since writing my letter 
of Aug. 30, to Mr. Eppes) received one from Dr. Currie, of 
August 5, by which I have the happiness to learn you are all 
well, and my Poll also. Every information of this kind is 
like gaining another step, and seems to say we "have got so 
far safe." Would to God the great step was taken and 
taken safely; I mean that which is to place her on this side 


of the Atlantic. No event of your life has put it into your 
power to conceive how I feel when I reflect that such a child, 
and so dear to me, is to cross the ocean, is to be exposed to 
all the sufferings and risks, great and small, to which a situ- 
ation on board a ship exposes every one. I drop my pen 
at the thought but she must come. My affections would 
leave me balanced between the desire to have her with me, 
and the fear of exposing her; but my reason tells me the 
dangers are not great, and the advantages to her will be con- 

I send by Mr. Fitzhugh some garden and flower seed and 
bulbs ; the latter, I know, will fall in your department. I 
wish the opportunity had admitted the sending more, as 
well as some things for the children ; but Mr. Fitzhugh be- 
ing to pass a long road both here and in America, I could not 
ask it of him. Pray write to me, and write me long letters. 
Currie has sent me one worth a great deal for the details of 
small news it contains. I mention this as an example for 
you. You always know facts enough which would be in- 
teresting to me to. fill sheets of paper. I pray you, then, to 
give yourself up to that kind of inspiration, and to scribble 
on as long as you recollect any thing unmentioned, without 
regarding whether your lines are straight or your letters 
even. Remember me affectionately to Mr. Skipwith, and to 
the little ones of both houses ; kiss dear Polly for me, and en- 
courage her for the journey. Accept assurances of unchange- 
able affection from, dear Madam, your sincere friend and 



In the letter to Mr. Eppes of August 30th, which Mr. Jef- 
ferson alludes to. in the preceding, he writes : 

Thomas Jefferson to Mr. ISppes. 

I must now repeat my wish to have Polly sent to me next 
summer. This, however, must depend on the circumstance 
'of a good vessel sailing from Virginia in the months of 
April, May, June, or July. I would not have her set out 
sooner or later on account of the equinoxes. The vessel 
should have performed one voyage at least, but not be more 
than four or five years old. We do not attend to this cir- 


cumstance till we have been to sea, but there the conse- 
quence of it is felt. I think it would be found that all the 
vessels which are lost are either on their first voyage or af- 
ter they are five years old ; at least there are few exceptions 
to this. With respect to the person to whose care she should 
be trusted, I must leave it to yourself and Mrs. Eppes alto- 
gether. Some good lady passing from America to France ? 
or even England, would be most eligible ; but a careful gen- 
tleman who would be so kind as to superintend her would 
do. In this case some woman who has had the small-pox 
must attend her. A careful negro woman, as Isabel, for in- 
stance, if she has had the small-pox, would suffice under the 
patronage of a gentleman. The woman need not come far- 
ther than Havre, FOrient, Nantes, or whatever port she should 
land at, because I could go there for the child myself, and the 
person could return to* Virginia directly. My anxieties on 
this subject could induce me to endless details, but your 1 dis- 
cretion and that of Mrs. Eppes saves me the necessity. I 
will only add that I would rather live a year longer without 
her than have her trusted to any but a good ship and a sum- 
mer passage. Patsy is well. She speaks French as easily 
as English ; while Humphries, Short, and myself are scarcely 

better at it than when we landed 

I look with impatience to the moment when I may rejoin 
you. There is nothing to tempt me to stay here. Present 
me with the most cordial affection to Mrs. Eppes, the chil- 
dren, and the family at Hors-du-monde. I commit to Mrs. 
Eppes my kisses for dear Poll, who hangs on iny mind night 
and day. 

Had he been the mother instead of the father of the little 
girl who was to cross the Atlantic, he could not have shown 
more anxiety about her welfare an.d safety on the passage. 
In a letter of Jan. 7th, 1786, to Mr. Eppes, he writes : 

I wrote you last on the llth of December, by the way of 
London. That conveyance being uncertain, I write the pres- 
ent chiefly to repeat a prayer I urged in that, that you would 
confide my daughter only to a French or English vessel hav- 
ing a Mediterranean pass. This attention, though of little 
consequence in matters of merchandise, is of weight in the 


mind of a parent which sees even possibilities of capture be- 
yond the reach of any estimate. If a peace be concluded 
with the Algerines in the mean time, you shall be among 
the first to hear it from myself. I pray you to believe it 
from nobody else, as far as respects the conveyance of my 
daughter to me. 

A few weeks later he writes : 

I know that Mrs.'Eppes's goodness will make her feel a 
separation from an infant who has experienced so much of 
her tenderness. My unlimited confidence in her has been 
the greatest solace possible under my own separation -from 
Polly. Mrs. Eppes's good sense will suggest to her many 
considerations which render it of importance to the iuture 
happiness of the child that she should neither forget nor be 
forgotten by her sister and myself. 

In concluding the same letter, he says : 

How much should I prize one hour of your fireside, where 
I might indulge that glow of affection which the recollection 
of Mrs. Eppes and her little ones excites in me, and give you 
personal assurances of the sincere esteem -with which I am, 
dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant. 

In a letter written to Mr. Eppes a year later, he says, "My, 
dear Poll, I hope, is on the way to me. I endeavor not to 
think of her till I hear she is landed." His reasons for in- 
sisting upon his little daughter being sent to him are found 
in the following letter : 


Paris, Dec. 14th, 1786. 

Dear Madam I perceive, indeed, that our friends are kind- 
er than we have sometimes supposed them, and that their 
letters do not come to hand. I am happy that yours of 
July 30th has not shared the common fate, I received it 
about a week ago, together with one from Mr. Eppes an- 
nouncing to me that my dear Polly will come to me the en- 
suing summer. Though I am distressed when I think of this 
voyage, yet I know it is necessary for her happiness. She is 


better with you, my dear Madam, than she could be any- 
where else in the world, except with those whom nature has 
allied still more closely to her. It would be unfortunate 
through life, both to her and us, were those affections to be 
loosened which ought to bind us together, and which should 
be the principal source of our future happiness. Yet this 
would be too probably the effect of absence at her age. 
This is the only circumstance which has induced me to press 

her joining us I am obliged to cease writing. An 

unfortunate dislocation of my right wrist has disabled me 
from writing three months. I have as yet no use of it, ex : 
cept^that I can write a little, but slowly and in great pain. 
I shall set out in a few days to the South of France, to try 
the effect of some mineral-waters there. Assure Mr. and 
Mrs. Skipwith of my warm affections. Kiss the little ones 
for me. I suppose Polly not to be with you. Be assured 
yourself of my sincere love and esteem. 
Tours affectionately, 


On the eve of his departure for the South of France, we 
find him writing the following letter to his devoted friend, 
Lafayette. In the advice which he gives of keeping Eng- 
land for a model, we see, on his part, an apprehension of the 
dangers ahead in the proceedings of the Assemblee des No- 

To Lafayette. 

Paris, February 28th, 1787. 

Dear Sir I am just now in the moment of my departure. 
Monsieur de Montraorin having given us audience at Paris 
yesterday, I missed the opportunity of seeing you once more. 
I am extremely pleased with his modesty, the simplicity of 
his manners, and his dispositions towards us. I promise my- 
self a great deal of satisfaction in doing business with him. 
I hope he will not give ear to any unfriendly suggestions. 
I flatter myself I shall hear from you sometimes. Send your 
lettetfs to my hotel, as usual, and they will be forwarded to 
me. I wish you success in your meeting. I should form 
better hopes of it, if it were .divided into two Houses instead 
of seven. Keeping the good model of your neighboring 


country before your eyes, you may get on, step by step, to- 
wards a good constitution. Though that model is not per- 
fect, yet, as it would unite more suffrages than any new one 
which could be proposed, it is better to make that the ob- 
ject. If every advance is to be purchased by filling the roy- 
al coffers with gold, it will be gold well employed. The 
King, who means so well, should be encouraged to repeat 
these Assemblies. You see how we republicans are apt to 
preach when we get on politics. Adieu, my dear friend. 
Yours affectionately, 


While on this tour though the southern part of France, 
Jefferson wrote some of his most charming letters to his 
daughter and his friends; among the latter the two most 
agreeable 'were to Lafayette and the Comtesse de Tesse, 
which we now give : 

To the Oorntesse de Tesse* 

Nismes, March 20th, 1787. 

Here I am, Madam, gazing whole hours at the Maison 
Quarree, like a lover at his mistress. The stocking-weavers 
and silk-spinners around it consider me as a hypochondriac 
Englishman, about to write with a pistol the last chapter of 
his history. This is the second time I have been in love 
since I left Paris. The first was with a Diana at the Cha- 
teau de Laye-Epinaye in Beaujolais, a delicious morsel of 
sculpture, by M. A. Slodtz. This, you will say, was in rule, 
to fall in love with a female beauty ; but with a house ! It 
is out of all precedent. No, Madam, it is not without a 
precedent in my own history. While in Paris, I was vio- 
lently smitten with the H6tel de Salm, and used to go to 
the Tuileries almost daily to look at it. The loueuse 
des chaises inattentive to my passion never had the com- 
plaisance to place a chair there, so that sitting on the para- 
pet, and twisting my neck around to see the object of my 
admiration, I generally left it with a torti-cotti. 

From Lyons to Nismes I have been nourished with the re- 
mains of Roman grandeur. They have always brought you 

* This lady was an annt of Madame Lafayette, and an intimate friend of 


to my mind, because I know your affection for whatever is 
Roman and noble. At Vienne I thought of you. But I am 
glad you were not there ; for you would have seen me more 
angry than, I hope, you will ever see me. The Praetorian pal- 
ace, as it is called comparable, for its fine proportions, to the 
Maison Quarre*e defaced by the barbarians who have con- 
verted it to its present purpose, its beautiful, fluted Corinthi- 
an columns cut out, in part, to make space for Gothic win- 
dows, and hewed down, in the residue, to the plane of the 
building, was enough, you must admit, to disturb my com- 
posure. At Orange, too, I thought of you. I was sure you 
had seen with pleasure the sublime triumphal arch of Ma- 
rius at the entrance of the city. I went then to the Arense. 
Would you believe, Madam, that in this eighteenth century, 
in France, under the reign of Louis XVI., they are at this mo- 
ment pulling down the circular wall of this superb remain, 
to pave a road ? And that, too, from a hill which is itself an 
entire mass of stone, just as fit, and more accessible ! A for- 
mer intendant, a Monsieur de Basville, has rendered his mem- 
ory dear to the traveller and amateur, by the pains he took 
to preserve and restore these monuments of antiquity. The 
present one (I do not know who he is) is demolishing the ob- 
ject, to make a good road to it. I thought of you again, 
and I was then in great good-humor, at the Pont du Gard, a 
sublime antiquity and well preserved. But most of all here, 
where Roman taste, genius, and magnificence excite ideas 
analogous to yours at every step. I could no longer oppose 
the inclination to avail myself of your permission to write to 
you, a permission .given with too much complaisance by you, 
and used by me with too much indiscretion. Madame de 
Tott did me the same honor. But, she being only the de- 
scendant of some of those puny heroes who boiled their own 
kettles before the walls of Troy, I shall write to her from a 
Grecian, rather than a Roman canton ; when I shall find my- 
self, for example, among her Phocian relations at Marseilles. 
Loving as you do, Madam, the precious remains of antiq- 
uity, loving architecture, gardening, a warm sun and a clear 
sky, I wonder you have never thought of moving Chaville to 
Nismes. This, as you know, has not always been deemed 
impracticable ; and therefore, the next time a Sur-intendant 
des batiments du roi, after the example of M. Colbert, sends 


persons to Nismes to move the Maison Quarree to Paris, that 
they may not come empty-handed, desire them to hring Cha- 
ville with them, to replace it. Apropos of Paris. I have 
now been three weeks from there, without knowing any 
thing of what has passed. I suppose I shall meet it all at 
Aix, where I have directed my letters to be lodged paste re- 
stante. My journey has given me leisure to reflect on the As- 
semblee des Notables. Under a good and a young king, as 
the present, I think good may be made of it. I would have 
the deputies, then, by all means, so conduct themselves as to 
encourage him to repeat the calls of this Assembly. Their 
first step should be to get themselves divided into two Cham- 
bers instead of seven the Noblesse and the Commons sep- 
arately. The second, to persuade the King, instead of choos- 
ing the deputies of the Commons himself, to summon those 
chosen by the people for the provincial administrations. 
The third, as the Noblesse is too numerous to be all of the 
Assemble, to obtain permission for that body to choose its 
own deputies. Two Houses, so elected, would contain a 
mass of wisdom which would make the people happy and 
the King great would place him in history where no other 
act could possibly place him. They would thus put them- 
selves in the track of the best guide they can follow ; they 
would soon overtake it, become its guide in turn, and lead to 
the wholesome modifications wanting in that model, and 
necessary to constitue a rational government. Should they 
attempt more than the established habits of the people are 
ripe for, they may lose all, and retard indefinitely the ulti- 
mate object of their aim. These, Madam, are my opinions ; 
but I wish to know yours, which, I am sure will be better. 

From a correspondent at Nismes you will not expect 
news. Were I to attempt to give you news, I should tell 
you stories one thousand years old. I should detail to you 
the intrigues of the courts of the Caesars how they affect us 
here, the oppressions of their prsetorsj prefects, etc. I am 
immersed in antiquities from morning to night. For me 
the city of Rome is actually existing in all the splendor of 
its empire. I am filled with alarms for the event of the ir- 
ruptions daily making on us by the Goths, Yisigoths, Os- 
trogoths, and Vandals, lest they should reconquer us to our 
original barbarism. If I am sometimes induced to look for- 


ward to the eighteenth century, it is only when recalled to 
it by the recollection of your goodness and friendship, and 
by those sentiments of sincere esteem and respect, with 
which I have the honor to be, Madam, your most obedient 

and most humble servant, 


To Lafayette. 

Nice, April llth, 1787. 

Your head, my dear friend, is full of Notable things ; and 
being better employed, therefore, I do not expect letters 
from you. I am constantly roving about to see what I 
have never seen before, and shall never see again. In the 
great cities, I go to see what travellers think alone worthy 
of being seen ; but I make a job of it, and generally gulp it 
all down in a day. On the other hand, I am never satiated 
with rambling through the fields and farms, examining the 
culture and cultivators with a degree of curiosity which 
makes some take me to be a fool, and others to be much 
wiser than I am. I have been pleased to find among the 
people a less degree of physical misery than I had expect- 
ed. They are generally well clothed, and have a plenty of 
food, not animal, indeed, but vegetable, which is as whole- 

From the first olive-fields of Pierrelatte to the orangeries 
of Hieres has been continued rapture to me. I have often 
wished for you. I think you have not made this journey. 
It is a pleasure you have to come, and an improvement to 
be added to the many you have already made. It will be 
a great comfort to you to know, from your own inspection, 
the condition of all the provinces of your own country, and 
it will be interesting to them, at some future day, to be 
known to you. This is, perhaps, the only moment of your 
life in which you can acquire that knowledge. And to do 
it most effectually, you must be absolutely incognito, you 
must ferret the people out of their hovels, as I have done, 
look into their kettles, eat their bread, loll on their beds un- 
der pretense of resting yourself, but in fact to find if they 
are soft. You will feel a sublime pleasure in the course of 
this investigation, and a sublimer one hereafter, when you 
shall be able to apply your knowledge to the softening of 


their beds, or the throwing a morsel of meat into their ket- 
tle of vegetables. 

You will not wonder at the subjects of my letter; they 
are the only ones which have been presented to my mind 
for some time past, and the waters must always be what 
are the fountains from which they flow. According to this, 
indeed, I should have intermingled, from beginning to end, 
warm expressions of friendship to you. But, according to 
the ideas of our country, we do not permit ourselves to 
speak even truths, when they have the air of flattery. I 
content myself, therefore, with saying once more for all, 
that I love you, your wife and children, Tell them so, and 
adieu. Yours affectionately, 


The following correspondence between Jefferson and his 
daughter Martha will be found unusually interesting. Her 
letters were written from the convent of Panthemont, in 
Paris, where she was at school. She was at the time fifteen 
years old, and the artlessness, intelligence, and warm affec- 
tion with which she writes to her father render her letters 
inexpressibly charming. 

Martha Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 

Being disappointed in my expectation of receiving a let- 
ter from my dear papa, I have resolved to break so painful a 
silence by giving you an example that I hope you will fol- 
low, particularly as you know how much pleasure your let- 
ters give me. I hope your wrist is better, and I am inclined 
to think that your voyage is rather for your pleasure than 
your health ; however, I hope it will answer both purposes. 
I will now tell you how I go on with my masters. I have 
begun a beautiful tune with Balbastre, done a very pretty 
landscape with Pariseau a little man playing on the violin 
and begun another beautiful landscape. I go on slowly 
with my Tite Live* it being in such ancient Italian that I 
can not read without my master, and very little with him 
even. As for the dancing-master, I intend to leave *him off 
as soon as my month is finished. Tell me if you are still de- 




tennined that I shall dine at the abbess's table. If you are, 
I shall at the end of my quarter. The King's speech and 
that of the Eveque de Narbonne have been copied all over 
the convent. As for Monsieur, he rose up to speak, but sat 
down again without daring to open his lips. I know no 
news, but suppose Mr. Short will write you enough for him 
and me too. Madame Thaubeneu desires her compliments 
to you. Adieu, my dear papa. I am afraid you will not be 
able to read my scrawl, but I have not the time of copying 
it over again ; and therefore I must beg your indulgence, and 
assure you of the tender affection of yours, 


Pray write often, and long letters. . 
Paathemont, February 8th, 1787. 

Martha, Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 
My dear Papa Though the knowledge of your health 
gave me the greatest pleasure, yet I own I was not a little 
disappointed in not receiving a letter from you. However, 
I console myself with the thought of having one veiy soon, 
as you promised to write to me every week. Until now you 
have not kept your word the least in the world, but I hope 
you will make up for your silence by writing me a fine, long 
letter by the first opportunity. Titus lAmus puts me out of 
my wits. I can not read a word by myself, and I read of it 
very seldom with my master ; however, I hope I shall soon 
be able to take it up again. All my other masters go on 
much the same perhaps better. Every body here is very 
well, particularly Madame L'Abbesse, who has visited almost 
a quarter of the new building a thing that she has not done 
for two or three years before now. I have not heard any 
thing of my harpsichord, and I am afraid it will not come be- 
fore your arrival. They make every day some new history 
on the Assemble des Notables. I will not tell you any, for 
fear of taking a trip to the Bastile for my pains, which I am 
by no means disposed to do at this moment. I go on pretty 
well with Thucydides, and hope I shall very soon finish it. 
I expect Mr. Short every instant for my letter, therefore I 
must leave you. Adieu, my dear papa ; be assured you are 
never a moment absent from my thoughts, and believe me 
to be, your most affectionate child, 

March 25th, 1787. 


Thomas Jefferson to Martha. Jefferson. 

Aix en Provence, March 28th, 1787. 

I was happy, my dear Patsy, to receive, on my arrival here, 
your letter, informing me of your good health and occupation. 
I have not written to you sooner because I have been almost 
constantly on the road. My journey hitherto has been a 
very pleasing one. It was undertaken with the hope that 
the mineral-waters of this place might restore strength to 
my wrist. Other considerations also concurred instruction, 
amusement, and abstraction from business, of which I had 
too much at Paris. I am glad to learn that you are employ- 
ed in things new and good, in your music and drawing. 
You know what have been my fears for some time past that 
you do not employ yourself so closely as I could wish. You 
have promised me a more assiduous attention, and I have 
great confidence in what you promise. It is your future 
happiness which interests me, and nothing can contribute 
more to it (moral rectitude always excepted) than the con- 
tracting a habit of industry and activity. Of all the cankers 
of human happiness none corrodes with so silent, yet so bane- 
ful an influence, as indolence. Body and mind both unem- 
ployed, our being becomes a burthen, and every object about 
us loathsome, even the dearest. Idleness begets ennui, ennui 
the hypochondriac, and that a diseased body. No laborious 
person was ever yet hysterical. Exercise and application 
produce order in our affairs, health of body and cheerfulness 
of mind, and these make us precious to our friends. It is 
while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If 
not then, it never is afterwards. The fortune of our lives, 
therefore, depends on employing well the short period of 
youth. If at any moment, my dear, you catch yourself in 
idleness, start from it as you would from the precipice of a 
gulf. You are not, however, to consider yourself as unem- 
ployed while taking exercise. That is necessary for your 
health, and health is the first of all objects. For this reason, 
If you leave your dancing-master for the summer, you must 
increase your other exercise. 

I do not like your saying that you are unable to read the 
ancient print of your Livy but with the aid of your master. 
We are always equal to what we undertake with resolution. 


A little degree of this will enable you to decipher your 
Livy. If you always lean on your master, you will never 
be able to proceed without him. It is a part of the Amer- 
ican character to consider nothing as desperate; to sur- 
mount every difficulty by resolution and contrivance. In 
Europe there are shops for every want; its inhabitants, 
therefore, have no idea that their wants can be supplied 
otherwise. Remote from all other aid, we are obliged to 
invent and to execute ; to find means within ourselves, and 
not to lean on others. Consider, therefore, the conquering 
your Livy as an exercise in the habit of surmounting diffi- 
culties ; a habit which will be necessary to you in the coun- 
try where you are to live, and without which you will be 
thought a very helpless animal, and less esteemed. Music, 
drawing, books, invention, and exercise, will be so many re- 
sources to you against ennui. But there are others which, 
to this object, add that of utility. These are the needle and 
domestic economy. The latter you can not learn here, but 
the former you may. In the country life of America there 
are many moments when a woman can have recourse to 
nothing but her needle for employment. In a dull company, 
and in dull weather, for instance, it is ill-manners to read, it 
is ill-manners to leave them ; no card-playing there among 
genteel people that is abandoned to blackguards. .The 
needle is then a valuable resource. Besides, without know- 
ing how to use it herself, how can the mistress of a family 
direct the work of her servants ? 

You ask me to write you long letters. I will do it, my 
dear, on condition you will read them from time to time, 
and practice what they inculcate. Their precepts will be 
dictated by experience, by a perfect knowledge of the situ- 
ation in which you will be placed, and by the fondest love 
for you. This it is which makes me wish to see you more 
qualified than common. My expectations from- you are 
high, yet not higher than you may attain. Industry and 
resolution are all that are 'wanting. JSTobody in this world 
can make me so happy, or so miserable, as you. Retirement 
from public life will ere long become necessary for me. < To 
your sister and yourself I look to render the evening of v 'iny 
life serene and contented. Its morning has been clouded! by 
loss after loss, till I have nothing left but you. I do (not 


doubt either your affections or dispositions. But great ex- 
ertions are necessary, and you have little time left to make 
them. Be industrious, then, my dear child. Think nothing 
insurmountable by resolution and application, ad you will 
be all that I wish you to be. 

You ask if it is my desire that you should dine at the 
Abbess's table ? It is. Propose it as such to Madame de 
Frauleinheim, with my respectful compliments, and thanks 
for her care of you. Continue to love me with all the 
warmth with which you are beloved by, my dear Patsy, 
Tours affectionately, 


Martha Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 

My dear Papa I am very glad that the beginning of 
your voyage has been so pleasing, and I hope that the rest 
will not be less so, as it is a great consolation for me, being 
deprived of the pleasure of seeing you, to know at least that 
you are happy. I hope your resolution of returning in the 
end of April is always the same. I do not doubt but what 
Mr. Short has written you word that my sister sets off with 
Fulwar Skipwith in the month of May, and she will be here 
in July. Then, indeed, shall I be the happiest of mortals ; 
united to what I have the dearest in the world, nothing 
more will be requisite to render my happiness complete. I 
am not so industrious as you or I would wish, but I hope 
that in taking pains I very soon shall be. I have already 
begun to study more. I have not heard any news of my 
harpsichord ; it will be really very disagreeable if it is not 
here before your arrival. I am learning a very pretty thing 
riow, but it is very hard. I have drawn several little flow* 
ers, all alone, that the master even has not seen; indeed, he 
advised me to draw as much alone as possible, f9r that is of 
more use than all I could do with him. I shall take tip my 
Livy, as you desire it. I shall begin it again, as I have lost 
the thread of the history. As for the hysterics, you may be 
quiet on that head, as I am not lazy enough to fear them. 
Mrs. Barett has wanted me out, but Mr. Short told her that 
you had forgotten to tell Madame L'Abbesse to let me go 
out with her. There was a gentleman, a few days ago, that 
killed himself because he thought that his wife did not love 


him. They had been married ten years. I believe that if 
every husband in Paris was to do as much, there would be 
nothing but widows left. I shall speak to Madame Thau- 
beneu about dining at the Abbess's table. As for needle- 
work, the only kind that I could learn here would be em- 
broidery, indeed netting also ; but I could not do much of 
those in America, because of the impossibility of having 
proper silks; however, they will not be totally useless. You 
say your expectations for me are high, yet not higher than 
I can attain. Then be assured, my dear papa, that you shall 
be satisfied in that, as well as in any thing else that lies in 
my power ; for what I hold most precious is your satisfac- 
tion, indeed I should be miserable without it. You wrote 
me a long 'letter, as I asked you ; however, it would have 
been much more so without so wide a margin. Adieu, my 
dear papa. Be assured of the tenderest affection of your 
loving daughter, 


Pray answer me very soon a long letter, without a mar- 
gin. I will try to follow the advice they contain with the 
most scrupulous exactitude. 
Panthemont, April 9th, 1787. 

Thomas Jeff&rson to Martha Jefferson. 

Toulon, April 7th, 1787. 

My dear Patsy I received yesterday, at Marseilles, your 
letter of March 25th, and I received it with pleasure, because 
it announced to me that you were welL Experience learns 
us to be always anxious about the health of those whom we 
love. I have not been able to write to you as often as I ex- 
pected, because I am generally on the road, and when I stop 
anywhere I am occupied in seeing what is to be seen. It 
will be some time now, perhaps three weeks, before I shall 
be able to write you again. But this need not slacken your 
writing to me, because yon have leisure, and your letters 
come regularly to me. I have received letters which in- 
form me that our dear Polly will certainly come to its this 
summer. By the time I return it will be time to expect 
her. When she arrives she will become a precious charge 
on your hands. The difference of your age, and your com- 
mon loss of a mother, will put that office on you. Teach 


her above all things to be good, because without that we 
can neither be valued by others nor set any value on our- 
selves. Teach her to be always true ; no vice is so mean as 
the want of truth, and at the same time so useless. Teach 
her never to be angry ; anger only serves to torment our- 
selves, to divert others, and alienate their esteem. And 
teach her industry, and application to useful pursuits. I 
will venture to assure you that, if you inculcate this in her 
mind, you will make her a happy being in herself, a most 
inestimable friend to you, and precious to all the world. In 
teaching her these dispositions of mind, you will be more 
fhced in them yourself, and render yourself dear to all your 
acquaintances. Practice them, then, my dear, without ceas- 
ing. If ever you find yourself in difficulty, and doubt how 
to extricate yourself, do what is right, and you will find it 
the easiest way of getting out of the difficulty. Do it for 
the additional incitement of increasing the happiness of him 
who loves you infinitely, and who is, my dear Patsy, yours 



Martha Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 

My dear Papa I was very sorry to see, by your letter to 
Mr. Short, that your return would be put off However, I 
hope not much, as you must be here for the arrival of my 
sister. I wish I was myself all that you tell me to make 
her ; however, I will try to be as near like it as I can. I 
have another landscape since I wrote to you last, and have 
begun another piece of music. I have not been able to do 
more, having been confined some time to my bed with a vio- 
lent headache and a pain in my side, which afterwards blis- 
tered up and made me suffer a great deal, but I am now 
much better. I have seen a physician who had just drawn 
two of my companions out of a most dreadful situation, 
which gave me a great deal of trust in him. But the most 
disagreeable thing is, that I have been obliged to discontinue 
all my masters, and am able now to take only some of them 
that are the least fatiguing. However, I hope to take them 
all very soon. Madame L'Abbesse has just had & fluxion de 
poitrine, and has been at the last extremity, but now is better 
The pays las have revolted against the Emperor, who is gone 


to Prussia to join -with, the Empress and the Venetians to 
war against the Turks. The plague is in Spain. A Virginia 
ship coming to Spain met with a corsair of the same strength. 
They fought, and the battle lasted an hour and a quarter. 
The 'Americans gained and boarded the corsair, where they 
found chains that had been prepared for them. They took 
them, and made use of them for the Algerians themselves. 
They returned to Virginia, from whence they are to go back 
to Algiers to change the prisoners, to which, if the Algerians 
will not consent, the poor creatures will be sold as slaves. 
Good God ! have we not enough ? I wish with all my soul 

that the poor negroes were all freed A coach-and- 

six, well shut up, was seen to go to the Bastile, and the Bar- 
on de Breteuil went two hours before to prepare an apart- 
ment. They suppose it to be Madame de Polignac and her 
sister ; however, no one knows. The King asked M. D'Har- 
court how much a year was necessary for the Dauphin. M. 
D'Harcourt having looked over the accounts, told him two 
millions ; upon which the King could not help expressing his 
astonishment, because each of his daughters cost him more ; 
so Madame de Polignac had pocketed the rest. Mr. Smith is 
at Paris. That is all the news I know ; they told me a great 
deal more, but I have forgotten it. Adieu, my dear papa, 
and believe me to be for life your most tender and affection- 
ate child, 

Paris, May 3d, 1787- 


Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. 

Marseilles, May 5th, 1787. 

My dear Patsy I got back to Aix the day before yester- 
day, and found there your letter of the 9th of April from 
which I presume you to be well, though you do not say so. 
In order to exercise your geography, I will give you a detail 
of my journey. You must therefore take your map and trace 
out the following places : Dijon, Lyons, Pont St. Esprit, 
Nismes, Aries, St. Remis, Aix, Marseilles, Toulon, Hifcres, 
Frejus, Antibes, Nice, Col de Tende, Coni, Turin, Vercelli, 
Milan, Pavia, Tortona, Novi, Genoa, by sea to Albenga, by 
land to Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Frejus, Brignolles, Aix, and 
Marseilles. The day after to-morrow, I set out hence for 


Aix, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Nismes, Montpellier, Narbonne, 
along the Canal of Languedoc to Toulouse, Bordeaux, Roche- 
fort, Rochelle, Nantes, L'Orient, Nantes, Tours, Orl6ans, and 
Paiis where I shall arrive about the middle of June, after 
having travelled something upwards of a thousand leagues. 

From Genoa to Aix was very fatiguing the first two days 
having been at sea, and mortally sick two more clambering 
the cliffs of the Apennines, sometimes on foot, sometimes on 
a mule, according as the path was more or less difficult and 
two others travelling through the night as well as day with- 
out sleep. I am not yet rested, and shall therefore shortly 
give you rest by closing my letter, after mentioning that I 
have received a letter from your sister, which, though a year 
old, gave me great pleasure. I inclose it for your perusal, as 
I think it will be pleasing for you also. But take care of it, 
and return it; to me when I shall get back to Paris, for, tri- 
fling as it seems, it is precious to me. 

When I left Paris, I wrote to London to desire that your 
harpsichord might be sent during the months of April and 
May, so that I am in hopes it will arrive a little before I shall, 
and give me an opportunity of judging whether you have 
got the better of that want of industry which I began to fear 
would be the rock on which you would split. Determine 
never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain 
of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful 
how much may be done if we are always doing. And that 
you may be always doing good, my dear, is the ardent 

praver of, yours affectionately, 


Martha Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson. 
My dear Papa I was very glad to see by your letter that 
you were on your return, and I hope that I shall very soon 
have the pleasure of seeing you. My sister's letter gave me 
a great deal of happiness. I wish she would write to me ; 
but as I shall enjoy her presence very soon, it will make 
up for a neglect that I own gives me the greatest pain. I 
still remember enough of geography to know where the 
places marked in your letter are. I intend to copy over my 
extracts and Ifcarn them by heart. I have learnt several new 
pieces on the harpsichord, drawn five landscapes and three 


flowers, and hope to have done something more by the time 
you come. I go on pretty well with my history, and as for 
Tite lave I have begun it three or four times, and go on so 
slowly with it that I believe I never shall finish it. It was 
in vain that I took courage ; it serves to little good in the 
execution of a thing almost impossible. I read a little of it 
with my master who tells me almost all the words, and, in 
fine, it makes me lose my time. I begin to have really great 
difficulty to write English ; I wish I had some pretty letters 
to form my style. Pray tell me if it is certain that my sister 
comes in the month of July, because if it is, Madame De Tau- 
benheim will keep a bed for her. My harpsichord is not 
come yet. Madame L'Abbesse is better, but she still keeps 
her bed. Madame De Taubenheim sends her compliments to 
you. Pray how does your arm go ? I am very well now. 
Adieu, my dear papa ; as I do not know any news, I must 
finish in assuring you of the sincerest affection of your lov- 
ing child, 
Paris, May 27th, 1787. M. JEFFERSON". 

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson. 

May 21st, 1787. 

I write you, my dear Patsy, from the canal of Languedoc, 
on which I am at present sailing, as I have been for a week 
past, cloudless skies above, limpid waters below, and on each 
hand, a row of nightingales in full chorus. This delightful 
bird had given me a rich treat before, at the fountain of 
Yaucluse. After visiting the tomb of Laura at Avignon, I 
went to see this fou'ntain a noble one of itself, and rendered 
famous forever by the songs of Petrarch, who lived near it. 
I arrived there somewhat fatigued, and sat down by the 
fountain to repose myself. It gushes, of the size of a river, 
from a secluded valley of the mountain, the ruins of Pe- 
trarch's cMteau being perched on a rock two hundred feet 
perpendicular above. To add to the enchantment of the 
scene,, every tree and bush was filled with nightingales in 
full song. I think you told me that you had not yet noticed 
this bird. As you have trees in the garden of the convent, 
there might be nightingales in them, and this is the season 
of their song. Endeavor, my dear, to make yourself ac- 
quainted with the music of this bird, that when you return 


to your own country you may be able to estimate its merit 
in comparison with that of the mocking-bird. The latter has 
the advantage of singing through a great part of the year, 
whereas the nightingale sings but about five or six weeks in 
the spring, and a still shorter term, and with a more feeble 
voice, in the fall. 

I expect to be at Paris about the middle of next month. 
By that time we may begin to expect our dear Polly. It 
will be a circumstance of inexpressible comfort to me to have 
you both with me once more. The object most interesting 
to me for the residue of my life, will be to see you both de- 
veloping daily those principles of virtue and goodness which 
will make you valuable to others and happy in yourselves, 
and acquiring those talents and that degree of science which 
will guard you at all times against ennui, the most danger- 
ous poison of life. A mind always employed is always hap- 
py.' This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity. 
The idle are the only wretched. In a world which furnishes 
so many employments which are useful, so many which are 
amusing, it is our own fault if we ever know what ennui is, 
or if we are ever driven to the miserable resource of gaming, 
which corrupts our dispositions, and teaches us a habit of 
hostility against all mankind. We are now entering the 
port of Toulouse, where I quit my bark, and of course must 
conclude my letter. Be good and be industrious, and you 
will be what I shall most love in the world. Adieu, my 

dear child. Tours affectionately, 


The following is an extract from a letter to his daughter, 
dated Nantes, June 1st, 1787 : 

I forgot, in my last letter, to desire you to learn all your 
old tunes over again perfectly, that I may hear them on your 
harpsichord, on its arrival. I have no news of it, however, 
since I left Paris, though I presume it will arrive immediate- 
ly, as I have ordered. Learn some slow movements of sim- 
ple melody for the Oelestini stop, as it suits such only. I 
am just setting out for L'Orient, and shall have the happi- 
ness of seeing you at Paris about the 12th or 15th of this 
month, and assuring you in person of the sincere love of, 
yours affectionately, TH. JEFFEKSOX. 



Increased Anxiety about his youngest Daughter. Her Aunt's Letter. She 
arrives in England. Mrs. Adams receives her. Letter to Mrs. Eppes. 
To Madame de Corny. To J. Bannister. To his Sister. Letter to Mr. 
Jay. To Madame de Brehan. To Madame de Corny. Weariness of 
Public Life. Goes to Amsterdam. Letter to Mr. Jay. To Mr. Izard. 
To Mrs. Marks. To Mr. Marks. To Randolph Jefferson. To Mrs. 

WHILE Mr. Jefferson was eagerly expecting the arrival of 
his little daughter from Virginia, the child herself was still 
clinging to the hope that her father might change his plans 
for her and agree to her remaining with her Aunt Eppes, from 
whom she obstinately refused to be separated. Towards the 
close of the month of March, 178*7, we find this kind lady 
writing to Mr. Jefferson as follows : 

Mrs. JBppes to Jefferson. 

I never was more anxious to hear from you than at pres- 
ent, in hopes of your countermanding your orders with re- 
gard to dear Polly. We have made use of every stratagem 
to prevail on her to consent to visit you without effect. She 
is more averse to it than I could have supposed ; either of 
my children would with pleasure take her place for the num- 
ber of good things she is promised. However, Mr. Eppes 
has two or three different prospects of conveying her, to ybur 
satisfaction, Lhope, if we do not hear from you. 

On the eve of the child's departure her anxious aunt again 

This will, I hope, be handed you by my dear Polly, who I 
most ardently wish may reach you in the health she is in at 
present. I shall be truly wretched till I hear of her being 
safely landed with you. The children will spend a day or 
two on board the ship with her, which I hope. will reconcile 


her to it. For God's sake give us the earliest intelligence of 
her arrival. 

As mentioned in the above extract, her young cousins 
went on board the ship with the little Mary, and were her 
playmates there until she had become somewhat at home 
and acquainted with those around her. Then, while the 
child was one day asleep, they were all taken away, and be- 
fore she awoke the vessel had cut loose from her moorings, 
and was fairly launched on the tedious voyage before her. 

The bark bearing this precious little charge, and the object 
of so many hopes and prayers on both sides of the Atlantic, 
made a prosperous voyage, and landed the young child safe- 
ly in England. There, at her father's request, she was re- 
ceived by Mrs. Adams, who treated her with the tenderness 
of a mother, until he could arrange to get her across the 
Channel. Some of his French friends, who were at the time 
in England, were to have taken her to Paris, but his impa- 
tience to see her could not brook the delay of their return, 
and he sent a servant Petit, his steward for her. In the 
mean time he announced her safe arrival to her friends in 
Virginia in the following letter : 

To Francis Eppes. 

Paris, July 2d, 178T. 

Dear Sir The present is merely to inform you of the safe 
arrival of Polly in London, in good health. I have this mo- 
ment dispatched a servant for her. Mr. Ammonit did not 
come, but she was in the best hands possible, those of Cap- 
tain Ramsay. Mrs. Adams writes me she was so much at- 
tached to him that her separation from him was a terrible 
operation. She has now to go through the same with Mrs. 
Adams. I hope that in ten clays she will loin those from 
whom she is no more to be separated. As this is to pass 
through post-offices, I send it merely to relieve the anxieties 
which Mrs. Eppes and yourself are so good as to feel on her 
account, reserving myself to answer both your favors by the 
next packet. I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your 

affectionate friend and servant, 



The loneliness of the little girl's situation on her arrival in 
a strange land, among strangers, her distress at having part- 
ed with her good aunt, Mrs. Eppes, her gratitude to Mrs. 
Adams for her kindness, her singular beauty, and the sweet- 
ness of her disposition, are touchingly and vividly described 
by Mrs. Adams in a letter to her sister. She writes : 

From Mrs. Adams. 

I have had with me for a fortnight a little daughter of 
Mr. Jefferson's, who arrived here, with a young negro girl, 
her servant, from Virginia. Mr. Jefferson wrote me some 
months ago that he expected them, and desired me to re- 
ceive them. I did so, and was amply repaid for my trouble. 
A finer child of her age I never saw.* So mature an under- 
standing, so womanly a behavior, and so much sensibility 
united, are rarely to be met with. I grew so fond of her, 
and she was so much attached to me, that, when Mr. Jeffer- 
son sent for her, they were obliged to force the little crea- 
ture away. She is but eight years old. She would sit, 
sometimes, and describe to me the parting with her aunt, 
who brought her up, the obligation she was under to her, 
and the love she had for her little cousins, till the tears 
would stream down her cheeks; and how I had been her 
friend, and she loved me. Her papa would break her heart 
by making her go again. She clung round me so that I 
could not help shedding a tear at parting with her. She 
was the favorite of every one in the house. I regret that 
such fine spirits must be spent in the walls of a "convent. 
She is a beautiful girl too. 

The following letter, written by Mr. Jefferson to Mrs. Ep- 
pes describes the arrival of his little one in Paris, and her 
visits to the convent. 

To Mrs. Jfypes. 

Paris, July 28th, 1787. 

Dear Madam Your favors of March 31st and May 7th 
have been duly received; the last by Polly, whose arrival 
has given us great joy. Her disposition to attach herself 

* She was in her ninth year. 


to those who are Mud to her had occasioned successive dis- 
tresses on parting with Captain Ramsay first, and after- 
wards with Mrs. Adams. She had a very fine passage, 
without a storm, and was perfectly taken care of by Captain 
Ramsay. He offered to come to Paris with her, but this 
was unnecessary. I sent a trusty servant to London to at- 
tend her here. A parent may be permitted to speak of his 
own child when it involves an act of justice to another. 
The attentions which your goodness has induced you to pay 
her prove themselves by the fruits of them. Her reading, 
her writing, her manners in general, show what everlasting 
obligations we are all under to you. As far as her affections 
can be a requital, she renders you the debt, for it is impossi- 
ble for a child to prove a more sincere affection to an absent 
person than she does to you. She will surely not be the 
least happy among us when the day shall come in which we 
may be all reunited. She is now established in the convent, 
perfectly happy. Her sister came and staid a week with 
her, leading her from time to time to the convent, until she 
became familiarized to it. This soon took place, as she be- 
came a universal favorite with the young ladies and the 
mistresses. She writes you a long letter, giving an account 
of her voyage and journey here. She neither knew us, nor 
should we have known her had we met with her unexpect- 
edly. Patsy enjoys good health, and will write to you. 
She has grown much the last year or two, and will be very 
tall. She retains all her anziey to get back to her country 
and her friends, particularly yourself. Her dispositions give 
me perfect satisfaction, and her progress is well; she will 
need, however, your instruction to render her useful in her 
own country. Of domestic economy she can learn nothing 
here, yet she must learn it somewhere, as being of more solid 
value than any thing else. I answer Jack's* letter by this 
occasion. I wish he would give me often occasion to do it ; 
though at this distance I can be of no use to him, yet I am 
willing to show my disposition to be useful to him, as* I 
shall be forever bound to be to every one connected with 
yourself and Mr. Eppes, had no other connection rendered 
the obligation dear to my heart. I shall present my affec- 

* Mrs. Eppes's son, and little Polly's future husband. 


tions to Mr. and Mrs. Skipwith in a letter to the former. 
Kiss the children for me, and be assured of the unchange- 
able esteem and respect of, dear Madam, your affectionate 

friend and servant, 


When little Mary Jefferson first went to Paris, instead of 
" Polly," she was called by the French Mademoiselle Polie* 
In a short time, however, she was called Marie, and on her re- 
turn to America, the Virginian pronunciation of that French 
name soon ran into Maria, by which name, strange to say, 
she was ever after called, even by her father and sister ; and 
Maria, instead of Mary, is the name now inscribed on the 
marble slab which rests upon her grave. 

The following is a letter written a short while after his 
return to Paris, to one of his lady friends, then on a visit 
to England : 

To Madame de Corny. 

Paris, Jane 30th, 1787. 

On my return to Paris it was among my first attentions 
to go to the Rue Chauss6e d'Antin, No. 17, and inquire after 
my friends whom I had left there. I was told they were in 
England. And how do you like England, Madam ? I know 
your taste for the works of art gives you a little disposition 
to Anglomania. Their mechanics certainly exceed all others 
in some lines. But be just to your own nation. They have 
not patience, it is true, to sit rubbing a piece of steel from 
morning to night, as a lethargic Englishman will do, full- 
charged with porter. But do not their benevolence, their 
amiability, their cheerfulness, when compared with the 
growling temper and manners of the people among whom 
you are, compensate their want of patience ? I am in hopes 
that when the splendor of their shops, which is all that is 
worth seeing in London, shall have lost the charm of novel- 
ty, you will turn a wishful eye to the good people of Paris, 
and find that you can not be so happy with any others. 
The Bois de Boulogne invites you earnestly to come and 
survey its beautiful verdure, to retire to its umbrage from 
the heats of the season. I was through it to-day, as I am 


every day. Every tree charged me with this invitation to 
you. Passing by La Muette, it wished for you as a mistress. 
You want a country-house. This is for sale ; and in the Bois 
de Boulogne, which I have always insisted to be most wor- 
thy of your preference. Come, then, and buy it. If I had had 
confidence in your speedy return, I should have embarrassed 
you in earnest with my little daughter. But an impatience 
to have her with me, after her separation from her friends, 
added to a respect for your ease, has induced me to send a 
servant for her. 

I tell you no news, because you have correspondents infi- 
nitely more au fait of the details of Paris than I am. And 
I offer you no services, because I hope you will come as soon 
as the letter could which should command them. Be as- 
sured, however, that nobody is more disposed to render 
them, nor entertains for you a more sincere and respectful 
attachment, than him who, after charging you with his com- 
pliments to Monsieur de Corny, has the honor of offering 
you the homage of those sentiments of distinguished esteem 
and regard, with which he is, dear Madam, your most obedi- 
ent and most humble servant, 


In a letter to J. Bannister, Jr., he thus speaks of the ill- 
fated traveller Ledyard, and of the pleasures of his own re- 
cent tour through the southern part of France : 

To J. Bannister. 

I had a letter from Ledyard lately, dated at St. Peters- 
burg. He had but two shirts, and yet, more shirts than 
shillings. Still he was determined to obtain the palm of be- 
ing the first circumambulator of the earth. He says that, 
having no money, they kick him from place to place, and 
thus he expects to be kicked around the globe. Are you be- 
come a great walker ? Tou know I preach up that kind of 
exercise. Shall I send you a conte-pas ? It will cost you a 
dozen louis, but be a great stimulus to walking, as it will re- 
cord your steps. I finished my tour a week or ten days 
ago. I went as far as Turin, Milan, Genoa ; and never pass- 
ed three months and a half more delightfully. I returned 
through the Canal of Languedoc, by Bourdeaux, Nantes, 



L'Orient, and Rennes ; then returned to STantes and came up 
the Loire to Orleans. I was alone through the whple, and 
think one travels more usefully when alone, because he re- 
flects more. 

To Mrs. BoUing. 

Paris, July 23d, 1787. 

Dear Sister I received with real pleasure your letter of 
May 3d, informing me of your health and of that of your 
family. Be assured it is, and ever has been, the most inter- 
esting thing to me. Letters of business claiming their rights 
before those of affection, we often write seldomest to those 
whom we love most. The 'distance to which I am removed 
has given a new value to all I valued before in my own 
country, and the day of my return to it will be the happiest 
I expect to see in this life. When it will come is not yet de- 
cided, as far as depends on myself. My dear Polly is safely 
arrived here, and in good health. She had got so attached 
to Captain Ramsay that they were obliged to decoy her 
from him. She staid three weeks in London with Mrs. 
Adams, and had got up such an attachment to her, that she 
refused to come with the person I sent for her. After some 
days she was prevailed on to come. She did not know either 
her sister or myself, but soon renewed her acquaintance and 
attachment. She is now in the same convent with her sis- 
ter, and will come to see me once or twice a week. It is a 
house of education altogether, the best in France, and at 
which the best masters attend. There are in it as many 
Protestants as Catholics, and not a word is ever spoken to 
them on the subject of religion. Patsy enjoys good health, 
and longs much to return to her friends. We shall doubt- 
less find much change when we do get back; many of our 
older friends withdrawn from the stage, and our younger 
ones grown out of our knowledge. I suppose you are now 
fixed for life at Chestnut Grove. I take a part of the mis- 
fortune to myself, as it will prevent my seeing you as often 
as would be practicable at LicHnghole. It is still a greater 
loss to my sister Carr. We must look to Jack for indemnifi- 
cation, as I think it was the plan that he should live at Lick- 
inghole. I suppose he is now become the father of a family, 
and that we may hail you as grandmother. As we approach 


that term It "becomes less fearful. You mention Mr. Boi- 
ling's being unwell, so as not to write to me. He has just 
bgen sick enough all his life to prevent his writing to any 
body. My prayer is, therefore, only that he may never be 
any worse ; were he to be so, nobody would feel it more 
sensibly than myself, as nobody has a more sincere esteem 
for him than myself. I find as I grow older, that I love 
those most whom I loved first. Present me to him in the 
most friendly terms ; to Jack also, and my other nephews 
and nieces of your fireside, and be assured of the sincere 
love with which I am, dear sister, your affectionate brother, 


In the autumn of this year (1787) the Count de Moustier 
was sent by the Court of St. Gennains as minister plenipo- 
tentiary to the United States. In a letter to Mr. Jay, Jef- 
ferson recommends the Count and his sister-in-law, Madame 
de Brehan, to the kind attentions of Mr. Jay and his family 
in the following terms* : 

To John Jay. 

The connection of your offices will necessarily connect you 
in acquaintance ; but I beg leave to present him to you on 
account of his personal as well as his public character. You 
will find him open, communicative, candid, simple in his man- 
ners, and a declared enemy to ostentation and luxury. He 
goes with a resolution to add no aliment to it by his exam- 
ple, unless he finds that the dispositions of our countrymen 
require it indispensably. Permit me, at the same time, to so- 
licit your friendly notice, and through you, that also of Mrs. 
Jay, to Madame la Marquise de Brehan, sister-in-law to Mon- 
sieur de Moustier. She accompanies him, in hopes that a 
change of climate may assist her feeble health, and also that 
she may procure a more valuable education for her son, and 
safer from seduction, in America than in France. I think it 
impossible to find a better woman, more amiable, more mod- 
est, more simple in her manners, dress, and way of thinking. 
She will deserve the friendship of Mrs. Jay, and the way tc 
obtain hers is to receive her and treat her without the shad- 
ow of etiquette. 


On the eye of her departure for America, Jefferson wrote 
the following graceful note of adieu: 

To Madame de JBrehan. 

Paris, October 9th, 1787: 

Persuaded, Madam, that visits at this moment must be 
troublesome, I beg you to accept my adieus in this form. 
Be assured that no one mingles with them more regret at 
separating from you. I will ask your permission to inquire 
of you by letter sometimes how our country agrees with 
your health and your expectations, and will hope to hear it 
from yourself. The imitation of European manners, which 
you will find in our towns, will, I fear, be little pleasing, I 
beseech you to practice still your own, which will furnish 
them a model of what is perfect Should you be singular, it 
will be by excellence, and after a while you will see the ef- 
fect of your example. 

Heaven bless you, Madam, and guard you under all cir- 
cumstances give you smooth waters, gentle breezes, and 
clear skies, hushing all its elements into peace, and leading 
with its own hand the favored bark, till it shall have safely 
landed its precious charge on the shores of our new world. 


The following pleasant letter is to another of his lady 
friends : 

To Madame de Corny. 

Paris, October 18th, 1787. 

I now have the honor^ Madam, to send, you the Memoir 
of M. de Calonnes. Do not injure yourself by hurrying its 
perusal. , Only when you shall have read it at your leisure, 
be. so good as to send it back, that it may be returned to the 
Duke of Dorset. You will read it with pleasure. It has 
earned comfort to my heart, because it must do the same to 
the King and the nation. Though it does not prove M. de 
Calonnes to be more innocent than his predecessors, it shows 
him not to have been that exaggerated scoundrel which the 
calculations and the clamors of the public have supposed. 
It shows that the public treasures have not been so incon- 
ceivably squandered as the Parliaments of Grenoble, Tou- 


louse, etc., had affirmed. In fine, it shows him less wicked, 
and France less badly governed, than I had feared. In ex- 
amining my little collection of books, to see what it could 
furnish you on the subject of Poland, I find a small piece 
which may serve as a supplement to the history I had sent 
you. It contains a mixture of history and politics, which I 
think you will like. 

How do you do this morning? I have feared you exerted 
and exposed yourself too much yesterday. I ask you the 
question, though I shall not await its answer. The sky is 
clearing, and I shall away to my hermitage. God bless yon, 
my dear Madam, now and always. Adieu. 


In a letter written to Mr. Donald in the year 17 88, his 
weariness of public life shows itself in the following lines: 

To Mr. Donald. 

Tour letter has kindled all the fond recollections of an- 
cient times recollections much dearer to me than any thing 
I have known since. There are minds which can be pleased 
with honors and preferments ; but I see nothing in them but 
envy and enmity. It is only necessary to possess them to 
know how little they contribute to happiness, or rather how 
hostile they are to it. No attachments soothe the mind so 
much as those contracted in early life; nor do I recollect 
any societies which have given me more pleasure than those 
of which you have partaken with me. I had rather be shut 
up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family, and 
a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the 
world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid 
post that any human power can give. I shall be glad to 
hear from you often. Give me the small news as well as the 

Early in March, Mr. Jefferson was called- by business to 
meet Mr. Adams in Amsterdam. After an absence of some 
weeks he returned to Paris. About this time we find him 
very delicately writing to Mr. Jay on the subject of an out- 
fit, which, it seems. Congress had not at that time allowed 


to its ministers abroad, and the want of which was painfully 
felt by them. 

To John Jay. 

It is the usage here (and I suppose at all courts), that a 
minister resident shall establish his house in the first instant. 
If this is to be done out of his salary, he will be a twelve- 
month, at least, without a copper to live on. It is the uni- 
versal practice, therefore, of all nations to allow the outfit as 
a separate article from the salary. I have inquired here into 
the usual amount of it. I find that sometimes the sovereign 
pays the actual cost. This is particularly the case of the 
Sardinian ambassador now coming here, who is to provide a 
service of plate and every article of furniture and other mat- 
tears of first expense, to be paid for by his court. In other 
instances, they give a service of plate, and a fixed sum for all 
other articles, which fixed sum is in no case lower than a 
year's salary. 

I desire no service of plate, having no ambition for splen- 
dor. My furniture, carriage, and apparel are all plain ; yet 
they have cost me more than a year's salary. I suppose that 
in every country and every condition of life, a year's expense 
would be found a moderate measure for the furniture of a 
man's house. It is not more certain to me that the sun will 
rise to-morrow, than that our Government must allow the 
outfit, on their future appointment of foreign ministers ; and 
it would be hard on me so to stand between the discontinu- 
ance of a former rule and the institution of a future one as 
to have the benefit of neither. 

In writing to Mr. Izard, who wrote to make some inquiries 
about a school for his son in France, he makes the following 
remarks about the education of boys: 

To Mr. Izard. , 

I have never thought a boy should undertake abstruse or 
difficult sciences, such as mathematics in general, till fifteen 
years of age at soonest. Before that time they are best em- 
ployed in learning the languages, which is merely a matter 
of memory. The languages are badly taught here. If you 
propose he should learn the Latin, perhaps you ^vill prefer 


:he having him taught it in America, and, of course, to re- 
tain him there two or three years more. 

One of the most "beautiful traits in Jefferson's character 
was the tenderness of his love for a sister Ann Scott Jeffer- 
son who was deficient in intellect, and who, on that ac- 
count, was more particularly the object of his brotherly love 
and attentions. The two following letters addressed to her 
husband and herself on the event of their marriage, ^bile 
handsome and graceful letters in themselves, are more inter- 
esting and greater proofs of the goodness of his heart and 
the sincere warmth of his affections, from the simple charac- 
ter and nature of those to whom they were addressed. 

To Mrs. Anna Scott Marks. 

Paris, July 12th, 1788. 

My dear Sister My last letters from Virginia inform me 
of your marriage with Mr. Hastings Marks. I sincerely 
wish you joy and happiness in the new state into which you 
have entered. Though Mr. Marks was long my neighbor, 
eternal occupations in business prevented my having & par- 
ticular acquaintance with him, as it prevented me from 
knowing more of my other neighbors, as I would have wish- 
ed to have done. I saw enough, however, of Mr. Marks to 
form a very good opinion of him, and to believe that he will 
endeavor to render you happy. I am sure you will not be 
wanting on your part. You have seen enough of the differ- 
ent conditions of life to know that it is neither wealth nor 
splendor, but tranquillity and occupation, which give happi- 
ness. This truth I can confirm to you from longer observa- 
tion and a greater scope of experience. I should wish to 
know where Mr. Marks proposes to settle and what line of 
life he will follow. In every situation I should wish to ren- 
der him and you every service in my power, as you may bo 
assured I shall ever feel myself warmly interested in your 
happiness, and preserve for you that sincere love I have al- 
ways borne you. My daughters remember you with equal 
affection, and will, one of these days, tender it to you in per- 
son. They join me in wishing you all earthly felicity, and a 
continuance of your love to them. Accept assurances of the 


sincere attachment with which I am, my dear sister, your 



To Hastings Marks. 

Paris, July 12th, 1788. 

Dear Sir My letters from Virginia informing me of your 
intermarriage with my sister, I take the earliest opportunity 
of presenting you my sincere congratulations on that occa- 
sion. Though the occupations in which I was engaged pre- 
vented my forming with you that particular acquaintance 
which our neighborhood might have admitted, it did not 
prevent my entertaining a due sense of your merit. I am 
particularly pleased that Mr, Lewis has taken the precise 
measures which I had intended to recommend to him in or- 
der to put you into immediate possession of my sister's for- 
tune in my hands. I should be happy to know where you 
mean to settle and what occupation you propose to follow 
whether any other than that of a farmer, as I shall ever 
feel myself interested in your success, and wish to promote 
it by any means in my power, should any fall in my way. 
The happiness of a sister whom I very tenderly love being 
committed to your hands, I can not but ofier prayers to 
Heaven for your prosperity and mutual satisfaction. A 
thorough knowledge of her merit and good dispositions en- 
courages me to hope you will both find your happiness in 
this union, and this hope is encouraged by my knowledge of 
yourself I beg you to be assured of the sentiments of sin- 
cere esteem and regard with which I shall be on all occa- 
sions, dear Sir, your friend and servant, 


The following is to his only brother: . 

To Randolph Jefferson. 

Paris, January llth, 1789. 

J Dear Brother The occurrences of this part of the globe 
are of a nature to interest you so little that I have never 
made them the subject of a letter to you. Another dis- 
couragement has been the distance and time a letter would 
be on its way. I have not the less continued to entertain 


or you the same sincere affection, the same wishes for your 
lealth and that of your family, and almost an envy of your 
piet and retirement. The very short period of my life 
vhich I have passed unconnected with puhlic business suf- 
ices to convince me it is the happiest of all situations, and 
ihat no society is so precious as that of one's own family. I 
hope to have the pleasure of seeing you for a while the next 
summer. I have asked of Congress a leave of ahsence for 
six months, and if* I obtain it in time I expect to sail from 
hence in April, and to return in the fall. This will enable 
me to pass two months at Monticello, during which I hope I 
shall see you and my sister there. You will there meet an 
old acquaintance, very small when you knew her, but now of 
good stature.* Polly you hardly remember, and she scarce- 
ly recollects you. Both will be happy to see you and my 
sister, and to be once more placed among their friends they 
well remember in Virginia. Nothing in this coun- 
try can make amends for what one loses by quitting their 
own. I suppose you are by this time the father of a numer- 
ous family, and that my namesake is big enough to begin 
the thraldom of education. Remember me affectionately to 
my sister, joining my daughters therein, who present their 
affectionate duty to you also ; and accept yourself assur- 
ances of the sincere attachment and esteem of, dear brother, 
Yours affectionately, 


Six months before writing the above he wrote the follow- 

To Mrs. JSppes. 

Paris, July 12th, 1788. 

Dear Madam Your kind favor of January 6th has come 
duly to hand. These marks of your remembrance are al- 
ways dear to me, and recall to my mind the happiest por- 
tion of my life. It is among my greatest pleasures to re- 
ceive news of your welfare and that of your family. You 
improve in your trade, I see, and I heartily congratulate 
you on the double blessings of which Heaven has just begun 
to open her stores to you. Polly is infinitely flattered to 
find a namesake in one of them. She promises in return to 

* Martha Jefferson. 


teach them both French. This she begins to speak easily 
enough, and to read as well as English. She will begin 
Spanish in a few days, and has lately begun the harpsichord 
and drawing. She and her sister will be with me to-mor- 
row, and if she has any tolerable scrap of her pencil ready I 
will inclose it herein for your diversion. I will propose to 
her, at the same time, to write to you, I know she will un- 
dertake it at once, as she has done a dozen times. She gets 
all the apparatus, places herself very formally with pen in 
hand, and it is not till after all this and rummaging her 
head thoroughly that she calls out, " Indeed, papa, I do not 
know what to say ; you must help me," and, as I obstinately 
refuse this, her good resolutions have always proved abor- 
tive, and her letters ended before they were begun. Her 
face kindles with love whenever she hears your name, and I 
assure you Patsy is not behind her in this. She remembers 
you with warm affection, recollects that she was bequeathed 
to you, and looks to you as her best future guide and guar- 
dian. She will have to learn from you things which she 
can not learn here, and which after all are among the most 
valuable parts of education for an American. Nor is the 
moment so distant as you imagine ; on this I will enter into 
explanations in my next letter. I will only engage, from 
her dispositions, that you will always find in her the most 
passive compliance. You say nothing to us of Betsy, whom 
we all remember too well not to remember her affectionate- 
ly. Jack, too, has failed to write to me since his first letter. 
I should be much pleased if he would himself give me the 
details of his occupations and progress. I would write to 
Mrs. Skipwith,* but I could only repeat to her what I say to 
you, that we love you both sincerely, and pass one day in 
every -week together, and talk of nothing but Eppington, 
Hors-du-monde, and Monticello, and were we to pass the 
whole seven, the theme would still be the same. God bless 
you both, Madam, your husbands, your children, and every 
thing near and dear to you, and be assured of the constant 
affection of your sincere friend and humble servant, 


* His sister-in-law, Mrs. Eppes's sister. 



pjefferson asks for leave of Absence. Character of the Prince of Wales. 
Letters to Madame de Brehan. Fondness for Natural History. Anec- 
dote told by Webster. -^Jefferson's Opinion of Chemistry. Letter to Pro- 
fessor Willard. Martha Jefferson. She wishes to enter a Convent. Her 
Father takes her Home. He is impatient to return to Virginia. Letter 
to Washington To Mrs. Eppes. Receives leave of Absence. Farewell to 
France. Jefferson as an. Ambassador. He leaves Paris. His Daugh- 
ter's Account of the Voyage, and Arrival at Home. His Reception by his 
Slaves. . 

IN November, 1788, Mr. Jefferson wrote to Mr. Jay to pe- 
tition Congress for a leave of absence of five or six months. 
He earnestly desired this leave, that he might return to 
America to look after his own private affairs, which sadly 
needed his personal attention, and that he might carry his 
daughters back to Virginia and leave them with their rela- 
tions there, as he thought they were now at an age when 
they should be associating with those among whom they 
were to live. 

During the months which elapsed before he received leave 
to return home, his correspondence with his friends in Amer- 
ica continued to be interesting. In a letter written to Mr. 
Jay early in January, 1789, we find the following sketch of a 
character then notorious in Europe : 

To John Jay. 

As the character of the Prince of Wales is becoming inter- 
esting, I have endeavored to learn what it truly is. This is 
less difficult in his case than it is in other persons of his rank, 
because he has taken no pains to hide himself from the world. 
The information I most rely on is from a person here, with 
whom I am intimate, who divides his time between Paris 
and London an Englishman by birth, of truth, sagacity, and 
science. He is of a circle, when in London, which has had 


good opportunities of knowing the Prince ; but he has also, 
himself, had special occasions of verifying their information 
by his own personal observations. He happened, when last in 
London, to be invited to a dinner of three persons. The Prince 
came by chance, and made the fourth. He ate half a leg of 
mutton; did not taste of small dishes, because small; drank 
Champagne and Burgundy as small beer during dinner, and 
Bourdeaux after dinner, as the rest of the company. Upon 
the whole, he ate as much as the other three, and drank 
about two bottles of wine without seeming to feel it. 

My informant sat next him, and being until then unknown 
to the Prince personally (though not by character), and late- 
ly from France, the Prince confined his conversation to him 
almost entirely. Observing to the Prince that he spoke 
French without the slightest foreign accent, the Prince told 
him that, when very young, his father had put only French 
servants abou him, and that it was to that circumstance he 
owed his pronunciation. He led him from this to give an 
account of his education, the total of which was the learning 
a little Latin. He has not a single element of mathematics, 
of natural or moral philosophy, or of any other science on 
earth, nor has the society he has kept been such as to supply 
the void of education. It has been that of the lowest, the 
most illiterate and profligate persons of the kingdom, with- 
out choice of rank or mind, and with whom the subjects of 
conversation are only horses, drinking - matches, bawdy- 
houses, and in terms the most vulgar. The young nobility 
who begin by associating with him soon leave him disgusted 
by the insupportable profligacy of his society ; and Mr. Fox, 
who has been supposed his favorite, and not over-nice in the 
choice of company, would never keep his company habitual- 
ly. In fact, he never associated with a man of sense. He 
has not a single idea of justice, morality, religion, or of the 
rights of men, or any anxiety for the opinion of the world. 
He carries that indifference for fame so far, that he probably 
would not be hurt if he were to lose his throne, provided he 
could be assured of having always meat, horses, and women. 
In the article of women, nevertheless, he has become more 
correct since his connection with Mrs. Fitzherbert, who is an 
honest and worthy woman ; he is even less crapulous than 
he was. 


He had a fine person, but it is becoming coarse. He pos- 
sesses good native common sense, is affable, polite, and very 
good-humored saying to my informant, on another occa- 
sion, " Your friend such a one dined with me yesterday, and 
I made him damned drunk ;" he replied, " I am sorry for it. 
I had heard that your royal highness had left off drinking." 
The Prince laughed, tapped him on the shoulder very good- 
naturedly, without saying a word, or ever after showing any 

The Duke of York, who was for some time cried up as the 
prodigy of the family, is as profligate and of less understand- 
ing. To these particular traits, from a man of sense and 
truth, it would be superfluous to add the general terms of 
praise or blame in which he is spoken of by other persons, in 
whose impartiality and penetration I have less confidence. 
A sample is better than a description. For the peace of Eu- 
rope, it is best that the King should give such gleamings of 
recovery as would prevent the Regent or his ministry from 
thinking themselves firm, and yet that he should not recover. 

The following letters were written by Jefferson to his 
friend Madame de Brehan, who was still in America. The 
first is a note of introduction given to one of his lady friends, 
and the second contains an interesting account of the severi- 
ty of the winter of 1788-'89 and of the sufferings of the poor 
in Paris. 

To Madame de Brehan. 

Paris, Feb. loth, 1789. 

It is an office of great pleasure to me, my dear Madam, to 
bring good people together. I therefore present to you Mrs. 
Church, who makes a short visit to her native country. I 
will not tell you her amiable qualities, but leave you the 
pleasure of seeing them yourself. You will see many au 
premier abord, and you would see more every day of your 
lives, were every day of your lives to bring you together* 
In truth, I envy you the very gift I make you, and would 
willingly, if I could, take myself the moments of her society 
which I ain procuring you. I need not pray you to load her 
with civilities. Both her character and yours will insure 
this. I will thank you for them in person, however, very soon 


after you shall receive this. Adieu, ma chere Madame. 
Agreez toutes les hommages de respect et d'attachement 
avec lesquelles j'ai Phonneur d'etre, Madame, votre tr&s hum- 
ble et tr&s obeissant serviteur, 


To Madame de Brehan. 

Paris, March 14th, 1789. 

Dear Madam I had the honor of writing to you on the 15th 
of February, soon after which I had that of receiving your 
favor of December the 29th. I have a thousand questions 
to ask you about your journey to the Indian treaty, how you 
like their persons, their manners, their costumes, cuisine, etc. 
But this I must defer until I can do it personally in Hew 
York, where I hope to see you for a moment in the summer, 
and to take your commands for France. I have little to 
communicate to you from this place. It is deserted ; every 
body "being gone into the country to choose or be chosen 
deputies to the States General. I hope to see that great 
meeting before my departure. It is to be on the 27th of 
next month. A great political revolution will take place in 
your country, and that without bloodshed. A king, with 
two hundred thousand men at his orders, is disarmed by the 
force of public opinion and the want of money. Among the 
economies becoming necessary, perhaps one may be the Op- 
era. They say it has cost the public treasury a hundred 
thousand crowns in the last year. A new theatre is estab- 
lished since your departure that of the Opera Buffons, 
where Italian operas are given, and good music. Paris is 
every day enlarging and beautifying. I do not count among 
its beauties, however, the wall with which they have inclosed 
us. They have made some amends for this by making fine 
Boulevards within and without the walls. These are in con- 
siderable forwardness, and will afford beautiful rides around 
the city of between fifteen and twenty miles in circuit. We 
have had such a winter, Madame, as makes me shiver yet 
whenever I think of it All communications, almost, were 
cut off. Dinners and suppers were suppressed, and the mon- 
ey laid out in feeding and warming the poor, whose labors 
were suspended hy the rigors of the season. Loaded car- 
riages passed the Seine on the ice, and it was covered with 


thousands of people from morning to night, skating and slid- 
ing. Such sights were never seen before, and they continued 
two months. We have nothing new and excellent in your 
charming art of painting. In fact, I do not feel an interest 
in any pencil but that of David. But I must not hazard 
details on a subject wherein I am so ignorant and you are 
such a connoisseur. Adieu, my dear Madam ; permit me al- 
ways the honor of esteeming and being esteemed by you, 
and of tendering you the homage of that respectful attach- 
ment, with which. I am and shall ever be, dear Madam, your 

most obedient, humble servant, 


Jefferson's devotion to the study of Natural History is 
well known, and the accuracy of his knowledge in it is most 
strikingly illustrated in the following anecdote, which we 

quote from his biography by Randall : 

An amusing anecdote is preserved of the subject of his 
correspondence with the celebrated Buffon. The story used 
to be so well told by Daniel Webster who probably heard 
it from the lips of the New Hampshire party to it that we 
will give it in his words, as we find it recorded by an intelli- 
gent writer, and one evidently very familiar with Mr. Web- 
ster, in an article in Harper's Magazine, entitled " Social 
Hours of Daniel Webster:" 

"Mr. Webster, in the course of his remarks, narrated a story of Jefferson's 
overcoming Buffon on a question of Natural History. It was a dispute in re- 
lation to the moose the moose-deer, as it is called in New Hampshire and 
in one of the circles of beavx-esprits in Paris. Mr. Jefferson contended for 
certain characteristics in the formation of the animal which Buffon stoutly 
denied. Whereupon Mr. Jefferson, without giving any one notice of his in- 
tention, wrote from Paris to General John Sullivan, then residing in Dur- 
ham, New Hampshire, to procure and send him the whole frame of a moose. 
The General was no little astonished at a request he deemed so extraordina- 
ry ; bnt, well acquainted with Mr. Jefferson, he knew he must have sufficient 
motive for it ; so he made a hunting-party of his neighbors, and took the 
field. They captured a moose of unusual proportions, stripped it to the bone, 
and sent the skeleton to Mr. Jefferson, at a cost of fifty pounds sterling. On 
its arrival Mr. Jefferson invited Buffon and some other savants to a supper at 
his honse, and exhibited his dear-bought specimen. Buffon immediately ac- 
knowledged his error, and expressed his great admiration for Mr. Jefferson's 



energetic determination to establish the truth. e l should have consulted 
you, Monsieur/ he said, with usual French civility, 'before publishing my 
book on Natural History, and then I should have been sure of my facts.' " 

This has the advantage of most such anecdotes of eminent 
men, of being accurate nearly to the letter, as far as it goes. 
The box of President Sullivan (he was President of New 
Hampshire), containing the bones, horns, and skin of a moose, 
and horns of the caribou elk, deer, spiked horned buck, etc., 
reached Mr. Jefferson on the 2d of October. They were the 
next day forwarded to Buffon who, however, proved to be 
out of town. On his return, he took advantage of a supper 
at Jefferson's, to make the handsome admissions mentioned 
by Mr. Webster.* 

Li a letter written early in the summer of the year 1788 
to the Rev. Mr. Madison, of William and Mary College, we 
find Jefferson again right and Buffon wrong on a scientific 
subject. The student of chemistry will smile at Buffon's 
opinion, while he can not but admire Jefferson's wonderful 
foresight in predicting the discoveries to be made in that 
science, even though he should have erred in his opinion of 
Lavoisier's chemical nomenclature* We quote the following 
from the above-mentioned letter : 

To Rev. Mr. Madison. 

Speaking one day with Monsieur de Buffon on the present 
ardor of chemical inquiry, he affected to consider chemistry 
but as cookery, and to place the toils of the laboratory on a 
footing with those of the kitchen. I think it, on the contra- 
ry, among the most useful of sciences, and big with future 
discoveries for the utility and -safety of the human race. It 
is yet, indeed, a mere embryon. Its principles are contested ; 
experiments seem contradictory, their subjects are so minute 
as to escape our senses ; and their results too fallacious to 
satisfy the mind. It is probably an age too soon to propose 
the establishment of a system. The attempts, therefore, of 
Lavoisier to reform the chemical nomenclature is premature. 

* See Randall's Life of Jefferson, vol. i., p. 490. 


One single experiment may destroy the whole filiation of his 
terms, and his string of sulphates, sulphites, and sulphures 
may have served no other end than to have retarded the 
progress of the science, by a jargon, from the .confusion of 
which time will be requisite to extricate us. Accordingly, 
it is not likely to be admitted generally. 

The letter of which we now give the Conclusion shows 
how closely and how minutely Jefferson watched and stud- 
ied the improvements and progress made in the arts and sci- 
ences during his stay in Europe. This letter to be found 
in both editions of his correspondence was written in the 
spring of the year 1789, and addressed to Doctor Willard, 
professor in the University of Harvard, which University 
had just conferred on Jefferson a diploma as Doctor of Laws. 
After mentioning and criticising all the late publications 
bearing on the different branches of science and letters, he 
makes the following eloquent conclusion : 

To Dr. Wittard. 

What a field have we at our doors to signalize ourselves 
in ! The- Botany of America is far from being exhausted, its 
mineralogy is untouched, and its Natural History or Zoology 
totally mistaken and misrepresented. As far as I have seen, 
there is not one single species of terrestrial birds common to 
Europe and America, and I question if there be a single spe- 
cies of quadrupeds. (Domestic animals are to be excepted.) 
It is for such institutions as that over which you preside so 
worthily, Sir, to do justice to our country, its productions, 
and its genius. It is the work to which the young men you 
are forming should lay their hands. \Ve have spent the 
prime of our lives in procuring them the precious blessing 
of liberty. Let them spend theirs in showing that it is the 
great parent of science and of virtue, and that a nation will 
be great in both always in proportion as it is free. No- 
body wishes more warmly for the success of your good ex- 
hortations on this subject than he who has the honor to be, 
with sentiments of great esteem and .respect, Sir, your most 
obedient humble servant, etc. 



Mr. Jefferson, as I have elsewhere noticed, placed his 
daughters at school in a convent, and they were there edu- 
cated during his stay in Paris. His daughter Martha was 
now in her sixteenth year. She had not failed to take ad- 
vantage of the fine opportunities of being an Accomplished 
and well-informed woman which had been secured to her 
by the most thoughtful and devoted of fathers. She was 
a good linguist, an accomplished musician, and well read 
for her years ; and we doubt whether any of her Virginian 
or even American female contemporaries could boast so 
thorough an education as could the modest, yet highly-gift- 
ed, Martha Jefferson. The gentle and loving kindness lav- 
ished on her by the inmates of the convent won for them 
her warmest affection, while the sweet amiability of her dis- 
position, the charming simplicity of her manner, and the un.- 
usual powers of her mind endeared her to them. Thus her 
school-days 'flowed peacefully and gently by. But while 
their father had so carefully secured for his daughters a 
good mental and moral training by the situation in which 
he had placed them, he had overlooked the danger of their 
becoming too fond of it. He was startled, therefore, by re- 
ceiving a note from Martha requesting permission to enter 
the convent and spend the rest of her days in the discharge 
of the duties of a religious life. He acted on this occasion 
with his usual tact. He did not reply to the note, but after 
a day or two drove to the Abbaye, had a private interview 
with the Abbess, and then asked for his daughters. He re- 
ceived them with more than usual affectionate warmth of 
manner, and, without making the least- allusion to Martha's 
note or its contents, told his daughters that he had called to 
take them from school, and accordingly he drove back home 
accompanied by them. ' Martha was soon introduced into 
society at the brilliant court of Louis the Sixteenth, and 
soon forgot her girlish desire to enter a convent. No word 
in allusion to the subject ever passed between the father 
and daughter, and it was not referred to by either of them 
until years afterwards, when she spoke of it to her children. 


Getting more and more impatient for leave to return 
home for a few months, we find Jefferson writing to Wash- 
ington, in the spring of 1789, as follows: 

To George Washington* 

In a letter of November 19th to Mr. Jay, I asked a leave 
of absence to carry my children back to their own country, 
and to settle various matters of a private nature, which 
were left unsettled, because I had no idea of being absent so 
long. I expected that letter would have been received in 
time to be acted upon by the Government then existing. I 
know now that it would arrive when there was no Congress, 
and consequently that it must have awaited your arrival in 
New York I hope you found the request not an unreason- 
able one. I am excessively anxious to receive the permis- 
sion without delay, that I may be able to get back before 
the winter sets in. Nothing can be so dreadful to me as to 
be shivering at sea for two or three months in a winter pas- 
sage. Besides, there has never been a moment at which the 
presence of a minister here could be so well dispensed with, 
from certainty of no war this summer, and that the Govern- 
ment will be so totally absorbed in domestic arrangements 
as to attend to nothing exterior. 

In the same letter we find him congratulating Washing- 
ton on his election as President, and seizing that occasion to 
pay a graceful tribute to him of praise and admiration, and 
also of affection. He says : 

Though we have not heard of the actual opening of the 
new Congress, and consequently have not official information 
of your election as President of the United States, yet, as 
there never could be a doubt entertained of it, permit me 
to express here my felicitations, not to yourself, hut to my 
country. Nobody who has tried both public and private 
life can doubt but that you were much happier on the banks 
of the Potomac than you will be at New York. But there 
was nobody so well qualified as yourself to put our new ma- 
chine into a regular course of action nobody, the authority 
of whose name could have so effectually crushed opposition 


at home and produced respect abroad. I am sensible of 
the immensity of the sacrifice on your part. Tour meas- 
ure of fame was full to the brim ; and therefore you have 
nothing to gain. But there are cases wherein it is a duty 
to risk all against nothing, and I believe this was exactly 
the case. We may presume, too, according to every rule of 
probability, that, after doing a great deal of good, you will 
be found to have lost nothing but private repose. 

How anxiously Jefferson awaited the arrival of his leave 
of absence will be seen from the letter below, written by 
him to his ister-in-law : 

To Mrs. Eppes. 

Paris, Dec. 15th, 1788. 

Dear Madam In my last, of July 12th, I told you that 
in my next I would enter into explanations about the time 
my daughters would have the happiness to see you. Their 
future welfare requires that this should be no longer post- 
poned. It would have taken place a year sooner, but that I 
wished Polly to perfect herself in her French. I have asked 
leave of absence of Congress for five or six months of the 
next year, and if I obtain it in time I shall endeavor to sail 
about the middle of April. As my time must be passed 
principally at Monticello during the two months I destine 
for Virginia, I shall hope that you will come and encamp 
there with us a while. He who feedeth, the sparrow must 
feed us also. Feasting we shall not expect, but this will 
not be our object. The society of our friends will sweeten 
all. Patsy has just recovered from an indisposition of some 
days. Polly has the same ; it is a slight but continual fe- 
ver, not sufficient, however, to confine her to her bed. This 
prevents me from being able to tell you. that they are abso- 
lutely well I inclose a letter which Polly wrote a month 
ago to her aunt Skipwith, and her sickness will apologize for 
her not writing to you or her cousins ; she makes it up in love 
to you all, and Patsy equally, but this she will tell you her- 
self, as she is writing to you. I hope you will find her an 
estimable friend as well as a dutiful niece. She inherits stat- 
ure from her father, and that, you know, is inheriting no 


trifle. Polly grows fast I should write to Mrs. Skipwith 
also, but that I rely on your friendship to repeat to her the 
assurance of my affection for her and Mr. Skipwith. We 
look forward with impatience to the moment when we may 
be all reunited, though but for a little time. Kiss your dear 
children for us, the little and the big, and tender them my 
warmest affections, accepting yourself assurances of the sin- 
cere esteem and attachment, with which I am, my dear Mad- 
am, your affectionate and humble servant, 


The long-expected leave of absence came at last, and was 
received by Jefferson during the last days of August (1789). 
October being deemed the best month in which to be at sea, 
he postponed his voyage until that time. He left Paris on 
the 26th of September, as he thought, to be absent only a few 
months, but, as the event proved, never to return again. We 
find in his Memoir the following affectionate farewell to the 
kind people and the fair land of France : 

I can not leave this great and good country without ex- 
pressing my sense of its pre-eminence of character among 
the nations of the earth. A more benevolent people I have 
never known, nor greater warmth and devotedness in their 
select friendships. Their kindness and accommodation to 
strangers is unparalleled, and the hospitality of Paris is be- 
yond any thing I had conceived to be practicable in a large 
city. Their eminence, too, in science, the communicative dis- 
positions of their scientific men, the politeness of their general 
manners, the ease and vivacity of their conversation, give a 
charm to their society to be found nowhere else. In a com- 
parison of this with other countries, we have the proof of 
primacy which was given to Themistocles after the battle of 
Salamis. Every general voted to himself the first reward of 
valor, and the second to Themistocles. So, ask the travelled 
inhabitant of any nation, on what country on earth would you 
rather live ? Certainly in my own, where are all my friends, 
my relations, and the earliest and sweetest affections and 
recollections of my life. Which would be your second 
choice ? France. 


Jefferson's discharge of His duties as minister at the 
Court of St. Germains, Mr. Webster spoke thus : 

Mr. Jefferson's discharge of his diplomatic duties was 
marked by great ability, diligence, and patriotism; and 
while he resided at Paris, in one of the most interesting peri- 
ods, his character for intelligence, his love of knowledge and 
of the society of learned men, distinguished him in the high- 
est circles of the French capital. No court in Europe had 
at that time a representative in Paris commanding or enjoy- 
ing higher regard, for political knowledge or for general at- 
tainments, than the minister of this then infant republic. 

So, too, the Edinburgh Keview, though no admirer of Jef- 
ferson's political creed, says of his ambassadorial career: 

His watchfulness on every subject which might bear on 
the most favorable arrangement of their new commercial 
treaties, his perseverance in seeking to negotiate a general 
alliance against Algiers, the skill and knowledge with which 
he argued the different questions of national interest that 
arose during his residence, will not suffer even in compar- 
ison with Franklin's diplomatic talents. Every thing he 
sees seems to suggest to him the question whether it can 
be made useful in America. Could we compare a twelve- 
month's letters from our ambassadors' bags at Paris, Flor- 
ence, or elsewhere, we should see whether our enormous dip- 
lomatic salaries are any thing else than very successful meas- 
ures for securing our business being ill and idly done. 

Jefferson, as I have just mentioned, left Paris the last of 
September. The account given below, of his journey home 
and reception there, is from the narrative of Martha Jeffer- 
son, before quoted : 

In returning, he was detained ten days at Havre de Grace, 
and, after crossing the Channel, ten more at Cowes, in the 
Isle of Wight, which were spent in visiting different parts of 
the island, when the weather permitted : a*mong others, Car- 
isbrook Castle, remarkable for the confinement of Charles the 


First, and also for a well of uncommon depth. "We sailed 
on the 23d of October, 1789, in company with upwards of 
thirty vessels who had collected there and been detained, as 
we were, by contrary winds* Colonel Trumbull, who char- 
tered the ship for my iather in London, applied to Mr. Pitt 
to give orders to prevent his baggage from being searched 
on his arrival, informing Mr. Pitt at the same time that the 
application was made without his knowledge. The orders 
to such an effect were accordingly issued, I presume, as he 
was spared the usual vexation of such a search. The voy- 
age was quick and not unpleasant When we arrived on 
the coast there was so thick a mist as to render it impossi- 
ble to see a pilot, had any of them been out. After beating 
about three days, the captain, a bold as well as an experi- 
enced seaman, determined to run in at a venture, without 
having seen the Capes. The ship came near running upon 
what was conjectured to be the Middle Ground, when an- 
chor was cast at ten o'clock P.M. The wind rose, and the 
vessel drifted down, dragging her anchor, one or more miles. 
But she had got within the Capes, while a number which 
had been less bold were blown off the coast, some of them 
lost, and all kept out three or four weeks longer. We had 
to beat up against a strong head-wind, which carried away 
our topsails ; and we were very near being run down by a 
brig coming out of port, which, having the wind in her fa- 
vor, was almost upon us before we could get out of the way. 
We escaped, however, with only the loss of a part of our rig- 
ging. My father had been so anxious about his public ac- 
counts, that he would not trust them to go until he went 
with them. We arrived at Norfolk in the forenoon, and in 
two hours after landing, before an article of our baggage was 
brought ashore, the vessel took fire, and seemed on the point 
of being reduced to a mere hull. They were in the act of 
scuttling her, when some abatement in the flames was dis- 
covered, and she was finally saved. So great had been the 
activity of her crew, and of those belonging to other ships 
in the harbqr who came to their aid, that every thing in her 
was saved. Our trunks, and perhaps also the papers, had 
been put in our state-rooms, and the doors incidentally 
closed by the captain. They were so close that the flames 
did not penetrate; but the powder in a musket in one of 


them was silently consumed, and the thickness of the travel- 
ling-trunks alone saved their contents from the excessive 
heat. I understood at the time that the state-rooms alone, 
of all the internal partitions, escaped burning. Norfolk had 
not recovered from the effects of the war, and we should 
have found it difficult to obtain rooms but for the politeness 
of the gentlemen at the hotel (Lindsay's), who were kind 
enough to give up their own rooms for our accommodation. 

There were no stages in those days. We were indebted 
to the kindness of our friends for horses; and visiting all on 
the way homeward, and spending more or less time with 
them all in turn, we reached Monticello on the 23d of De- 
cember. The negroes discovered the approach of the car- 
riage as soon as it reached Shadwell,* and such a scene I 
never witnessed in my life. They collected in crowds 
around it, and almost drew it up the mountain by hand. 
The shouting, etc., had been sufficiently obstreperous before, 
but the moment it arrived at the top it reached the climax. 
When the door of the carriage was opened, they received him 
in their arms and bore him to the house, crowding around 
and kissing his hands and feet some blubbering and cry- 
ing others laughing. It seemed impossible to satisfy their 
anxiety to touch and kiss the very earth which bore him. 
These were the first ebullitions of joy for his return, after a 
long absence, which they would of course feel; but perhaps" 
it is not out of place here to add that they were at all times 
very devoted in their attachment to him. 

A letter written by Mr. Jefferson to his overseer had- been 
the means of the negroes getting information of their mas 
ter's return home some days before he arrived. They were 
wild with joy, and requested to have holiday on the day on 
which he was expected to reach home. Their request was, 
of course, granted, and they accordingly assembled at Monti- 
cello from Mr. Jefferson's different farms. The old and the 
young came women and children and, growing impatient, 
they sauntered down the mountain-side and down the road 
until they met the carriage-and-four at Shadwell, when the 

* Shadwell is four miles distant from Monticello. 


welkin rang with their shouts of welcome. Martha Jeffer- 
son speaks of their " almost " drawing the carriage hy hand 
up the mountain : her memory in this instance may have fail- 
ed her, for I have had it from the lips of old family servants 
who were present as children on the occasion, that the horses 
were actually " unhitched," and the vehicle drawn by the 
strong black arms up to the foot of the lawn in front of the 
door at Monticello. The appearance of the young ladies, be- 
fore whom they fell back and left the way clear for them to 
reach the house, filled them with admiration. They had left 
them when scarcely more than children in the arms, and now 
returned Martha a tall and stately-looking girl of seventeen 
years, and the little Maria, now in her eleventh year, more 
beautiful and, if possible, more lovable than when, two years 
before, her beauty and her loveliness had 'warmed into en- 
thusiasm the reserved but kind-hearted Mrs. Adams. 

The father and his two daughters were then at last once 
more domiciled within the walls of their loved Monticello. 
How grateful it would have been for him never again to 
have been called away from home to occupy a public post, 
the following extract from a letter written by him before 
leaving Paris will show. He writes to Madison : 

You ask me if I would accept any appointment on that 
side of the water ? You know the circumstances which led 
me from retirement, step by step, and from one nomination 
to another, up to the present. My object is to return to the 
same retirement. Whenever, therefore, I quit the present, it 
will not be to engage in any other office, and most especial- 
ly any one which would require a constant residence from 



Letters on the French Revolution. 

I HATE thought it best to throw into one chapter the ex- 
tracts from Mr. Jefferson's Letters and Memoir which relate 
to the scenes that he witnessed at the beginning of the 
Revolution. These are so interesting as almost to make us 
regret, with himself, that he should have been recalled from 
France at that most fearfully interesting period of her his- 
tory. What pictures his pen would have preserved to us 
of scenes, of many of which he would have been an eye-wit- 
ness, and how the student of history would revel in his dis- 
patches home, which, like those he has left us, must have 
abounded in interesting details and sketches of character ! 

In giving these extracts, I shall merely indicate the date 
of the letters, and the persons to whom they were addressed: 

To John Jay, February 23<#, 1787. 

The Assemblee des Notables being an event in the history 
of this country which excites notice, I have supposed it would 
not be disagreeable to you to learn its immediate objects, 
though no way connected with our interests. The Assem- 
bly met yesterday ; the King, in a short but affectionate 
speech, informed them of his wish to consult with them on 
the plans he had digested, and on the general good of his 
people, and his desire to imitate the head of his family, Hen- 
ry IV., whose memory is so dear to the nation. The Garde 
des Sceaux then spoke about twenty minutes, chiefly in com- 
pliment to the orders present. The Comptroller-general, in 
a speech of about an hour, opened the budjet, and enlarged 
on the several subjects which will be under their delibera- 


To James Madison, June 2Qth, 1787. 

The King loves business, economy, order, and justice, and 
wishes sincerely the good of his people ; but he is irascible, 
rude, very limited in his understanding, and religious border- 
ing on bigotry. He has no mistress, loves his queen, and is 
too much governed by her. She is capricious, like her broth- 
er, and governed by him; devoted to pleasure and expense, 
and not remarkable for any other vices or virtues. Unhap- 
pily, the King shows a propensity for the pleasures of the 
table. That for drink has increased lately, or, at least, it has 
become more known. 

To John Jay, August 1th, 178 7. 

The Parliament were received yesterday very harshly by 
the King. He obliged them to register the two edicts for 
the impot, territorial, and stamp-tax. When speaking in my 
letter of the reiterated orders and refusals to register, which 
passed between the King and Parliament,! omitted to insert 
the King's answer to a deputation of Parliament, which at- 
tended him at Versailles. It may serve to show the spirit 
which exists between them. It was in these words, and 
these only: "Je vous ferai savoir mes intentions, Allez- 
vous-en. Qu'on ferme la porte !" 

To John Adams, August 30^,1787. 

It is urged principally against the King, that his revenue 
is one hundred and thirty millions more than that of his 
predecessor was, and yet he demands one hundred and twen- 
ty millions further In the mean time, all tongues in 

Paris (and in France, as it is said) have been let loose, and 
never was a license of speaking against the Government ex- 
ercised in London more freely or more universally. Carica- 
tures, placards, bons-mots, have been indulged in by all ranks 
of people, and I know of no well-attested instance of a single 
punishment. For some time mobs of ten, twenty, and thirty 
thousand people collected daily, surrounded the Parliament- 
house, huzzaed the members, even entered the doors and ex- 
amined into their conduct, took the horses out of the car- 
riages of those who did well, and drew them home. The 
Government thought it prudent to prevent these, drew some 


regiments into the neighborhood, multiplied the guards, had 
the streets constantly patrolled by strong parties, suspend- 
ed privileged places, forbade all clubs, etc. The mobs have 
ceased : perhaps this may be partly owing to. the absence of 
Parliament The Count d'Artois, sent to hold a bed of jus- 
tice in the Cour des Aides, was hissed and hooted without re- 
serve by the populace ; the carriage of Madame de (I forget 
the name), in the Queen's livery, was stopped by the popu- 
lace, under the belief that it was Madame de Polignac, whom 
they would have insulted ;" the Queen going to the theatre 
at Versailles with Madame de Polignac, was received with a 
general hiss. The King, long in the habit of drowning his 
cares in wine, plunges deeper and deeper. The Queen cries, 
but sins on. The Count d'Artois is detested, and Monsieur 
the general favorite. The Archbishop of Toulouse is made 
minister principal a virtuous, patriotic/and able character. 
The Marechal de Castries retired yesterday, notwithstanding 
strong solicitations to remain in office. The Marechal de 
Segur retired at the same time, prompted to it by the court. 

To John Jay, October 8th, 

There has long been a division in the Council here on the 
question of war and peace. Monsieur de Mtfntmorin and 
Monsieur de Breteuil have been constantly for war. They 
are supported in this by the Queen. The King goes for 
nothing. He hunts one-half the day, is drunk the other, and 
signs whatever he is bid. The Archbishop of Toulouse de- 
sires peace. Though brought in by the Queen, he is opposed 
to her in this capital object, which would produce an alli- 
ance with her brother. Whether the Archbishop will yield 
or not, I know not. But an intrigue is already begun for 
ousting him from his place, and it is rather probable it will 
succeed. He is a good and patriotic minister for peace, and 
very capable in the department of finance. At least, he is so 
in theory. I have heard his talents for execution censured. 

To John Jay, November 3d, 1787. 

It may not be uninstructive to give you the origin and 
nature of his (the Archbishop of Toulouse) influence with 
the Queen. When the Duke de Choiseul proposed the mar- 


riage of the Dauphin with this lady, he thought it proper to 
send a person to Vienna to perfect her in the language. He 
asked his friend, the Archbishop of Toulouse, to recommend 
to him a proper person. He recommended a certain Abb6. 
The Abb6, from his first arrival at Vienna, either tutored 
by his patron or prompted by gratitude, impressed on the 
Queen's mind the exalted talents and merit of the Archbish- 
op, and continually represented him as the only man fit to be 
placed at the helm of affairs. On his return to Paris, being 
retained near the person of the Queen, he kept him constant- 
ly in her view. The Archbishop was named of the Assem- 
ble des Notables, had occasion enough there to prove his tal- 
ents, and Count de Vergennes, his great enemy, dying oppor- 
tunely, the Queen got him into place. 

1 "Writing to Mr. Jay on September 3d, 1788, Mr. Jefferson, 
after alluding to the public bankruptcy and the moneyless 
condition of the treasury, goes on to say: 

To John Jay, September 3<?, 1788. 

The Archbishop was hereupon removed, with Monsieur 
Lambert, the Comptroller-general; and M. Necker was called 
in as Director-general of the finance, To soften the Arch- 
bishop's dismission, a cardinal's hat is asked for him from 
Rome, and his nephew promised the succession to the Arch- 
bishopric of Sens. The public joy on this change of admin- 
istration was very great indeed. The people of Paris were 
amusing themselves with trying and burning the Archbishop 
in effigy, and rejoicing in the appointment of M. Necker. 
The commanding officer of the City Guards undertook to 
forbid this, and, not being obeyed, he charged the mob with 
fixed bayonets, killed two or three, and wounded many. 
This stopped their rejoicings for that day; but, enraged 
at being thus obstructed in amusements wherein they had 
committed no disorder whatever, they collected in great 
numbers the next day, attacked the Guards in various places, 
burnt ten or twelve guard-houses, killed two or three of the 
guards, and had about six or eight of their own number 
killed. The city was hereupon put under martial law, and 
after a while the tumult subsided, and peace was restored. 


To George Washington, December 21st, 1788. 

In my opinion, a kind of influence which none of their 
plans of reform take into account, will elude them all T 
mean the influence of women in the Government. The man- 
ners of the nation allow them to visit, alone, all persons in 
office, to solicit the affairs of the husband, family, or friends, 
and their solicitations bid defiance to laws and regulations. 
This obstacle may seem less to those who, like our country- 
men, are in the precious habit of considering right as a bar- 
rier against all solicitation. Nor can such an one, without 
the evidence of his -own eyes, believe in the desperate state 
to which things are reduced in this country, from the omnip- 
otence of an influence lAich, fortunately for the happiness 
of the sex itself, does not endeavor to extend itself, in our 
country, beyond the domestic line. 

To Colonel Humphreys, March 18th, 1789. 

The change in this country, since you left it, is such as you 
can form no idea of. The frivolities of conversation have 
given way entirely to politics. Men, women, and children 
talk nothing else ; and all, you know, talk a great deal. 
The press groans with daily productions which, in point 
of boldness, make an Englishman stare, who hitherto has 
thought himself the boldest of men. A complete revolution 
in this Government has, within the space of two years (for it 
began with the Notables of 1787), been effected merely by 
the force of public opinion, aided, indeed, by the want of 
money, which the dissipations of the court had brought on. 
And this revolution has not cost a single life, unless we 
charge to it a little riot lately in Bretagne, which began 
about the price of bread, became afterwards political, and 
ended in the loss of four or five lives. The Assembly of the 
States General begins the 27th of April. The representa- 
tion of the people will be perfect ; but they will be alloyed 
by an equal number of the nobility and clergy. The first 
great question they will have to decide will be, whether they 
shall vote by orders or persons. And I have hopes that the 
majority of the nobles are already disposed to join the Tiers 
Etat in deciding that the vote shall be by persons. This is 
the opinion d la mode at present, and mode has acted a won- 


derful part in the present instance. All the handsome young 
women, for example, are for the Tiers Etat, and this is an 
army more powerful in France than the two hundred thou- 
sand men of the King* 

To William Carmichael, May 8th, 1*789. 

The States General were opened day before yesterday. 
Viewing it as an opera, it was imposing ; as a scene of busi- 
ness, the King's speech was exactly what it should have 
been, and very well delivered ; not a word of the Chancel- 
lor's was heard by any body, so that, as yet, I have never 
heard a single guess at what it was about. M. Xecker's 
was as good as such a number of details would permit it to 
be. The picture of their resources was consoling, and gener- 
ally plausible. I could have wished him to have dwelt more 
on those great constitutional reformations, which his " Rap- 
port au Roi ** had prepared us to expect. But they observe 
that these points were proper for the speech of the Chan- 

To John Jay, May Qth, 1789. 

The revolution of this country has advanced thus far 
without encountering any thing which deserves to be called 
a difficulty. There have been riots in a few instances, in 
three or four different places, in which there may have been 
a dozen or twenty lives lost. The exact truth is not to be 
got at. A few days ago a much more serious riot took 
place in this city, in which it became necessary for the troops 
to engage in regular action with the mob, and probably 
about one hundred of the latter were killed. Accounts vary 
from twenty to two hundred. They were the most aban- 
doned banditti of Paris, and never was a riot more unpro- 
voked and unpitied. They began, under a pretense that a 
paper manufacturer had proposed, in an assembly, to reduce 
their wages to fifteen sous a day. They rifled his house, de- 
stroyed every thing in his magazines and shops, and were 
only stopped in their career of mischief by the carnage above 
mentioned. Neither this nor any other of the riots have had 
a professed connection with the great national reformation 
going on. They are such as have happened every year since 


I have been here, and as will continue to be produced by 
common incidents. 

In the same letter, in speaking of the King, he says : - 

Happy that he is an honest, unambitious man, who desires 
neither money nor power for himself; and that his most 
operative minister, though he has appeared to trim a little, is 
still, in the main, a friend to public liberty. 

In a letter to Mr. Jay, June 17, 1789, after alluding to the 
continued disagreement between the orders composing the 
States General, as to whether they should vote by persons 
or orders, he says : 

To John Jay, June 17A, 1789. 

The Noblesse adhered to their former resolutions, and even 
the minority, well disposed to the Commons, thought they 
could do more good in their own chamber, by endeavoring 
to increase their numbers and fettering the measures of the 
majority, than by joining the Commons. An intrigue was 
set on foot between the leaders of the majority in that 
House, the Queen and Princes. They persuaded the King 
to go for some time to Marly ; he went. On the same day 
the leaders moved, in the Chamber of Nobles, that they 
should address the King to declare his own sentiments on 
the great question between the orders. It was intended that 
this address should be delivered to him at Marly, where, sep- 
arated from his ministers, and surrounded by the Queen and 
Princes, he might be surprised into a declaration for the No. 
bles. The motion was lost, however, by a very great ma- 
jority, that Chamber being not yet quite ripe for throwing 
themselves into the arms of despotism. Necker and Mon- 
inorin, who had discovered this intrigue, had warned some of 
the minority to defeat it, or they could not answer for what 

would happen The Commons (Tiers Etat) having 

verified their powers, a motion was made, the day before 
yesterday, to declare themselves constituted, and to proceed 
to business. I left them at two o'clock yesterday; the de- 
bates not then finished 


It is a tremendous cloud, indeed, which hovers over this 
nation, and he (Necker) at the helm has neither the courage 
nor the skill necessary to weather it. Eloquence in a high 
degree, knowledge in matters of account, and order, are dis- 
tinguishing traits in his character. Amhition is his first pas- 
sion, virtue his second. He has not discovered that sublime 
truth, that a hold, unequivocal virtue is the best handmaid 
even to ambition, and would carry him farther, in the end, 
than the temporizing, wavering policy he pursues. His 
judgment is not of the first order, scarcely even of the sec- 
ond ; his resolution frail ; and, upon the whole, it is rare to 
meet an instance of a person so much below the reputation 
he has obtained. 

To John Jay^ June 24ZA, 1^89. 

My letter of the 17th and 18th instant gave you the prog- 
ress of the States General to the 17th, when the Tiers had 
declared the illegality of all the existing taxes, and their 
discontinuance from the end of their present sessioa The 
next day being a jour de fte, could furnish no indication of 
the impression that vote was likely to make on the Govern- 
ment. On the 19th, a Council was held at Marly, in the 
afternoon. It was there proposed that the King should in- 
terpose by a declaration of his sentiments in a seance royale. 
The declaration prepared by M. Keeker, while it censured, in 
general, the proceedings both of the Nobles and Commons, 
announced the King's views, such as substantially to coin- 
cide with the Commons. It was agreed to in Council, as 
also that the seance royale should be held on the 22d, and 
the meetings till then be suspended. While the Council 
was engaged in this deliberation at Marly, the Chamber of 
the Clergy was in debate, whether they should accept the 
invitation of the Tiers to unite with them in the common 
chamber. On the first question, to unite simply and un- 
conditionally, it was decided in the negative by a very small 
majority. As it was known, however, that some members 
who had voted in the negative would be for the affirmative, 
with some modifications, the question was put with these 
modifications, and it was determined, by a majority of eleven 
members, that their body should join the Tiers. 



These proceedings of the Clergy were unknown to the 
Council at Marly, and those of the Council were kept secret 
, from every, body. The next morning (the 20th) the mem- 
bers repaired to the House, as usual, found 'the doors shut 
and guarded, and a proclamation posted up for holding a 
seance royale on the 22d, and a suspension of their meet- 
ings till then. They presumed, in the first moment, that 
their dissolution was decided, and repaired to another place, 
where they proceeded to business. They there bound them- 
selves to each other by an oath never to separate of their 
own accord till they had settled a Constitution for the na- 
tion on a solid basis, and, if separated by force, that they 
would reassemble in some other place. It was intimated 
to them, however, that day, privately, that the proceedings 
of the seance royale would be favorable to them. The next 
day they met in a church, and were joined by a majority of 
the Clergy. The heads of the aristocracy saw that all was 
lost without some violent exertion. The King was still at 
Marly. Nobody was permitted to approach him but their 
friends. He was assailed by lies in all shapes. He was 
made to believe that the Commons were going to absolve 
the army from their oath of fidelity to him, and to raise their 
pay. They procured a committee to be held, consist- 
ing of the King and his ministers, to which Monsieur and 
the Count d'Artois should be admitted. At this commit- 
tee the latter attacked M. Necker personally, arraigned his 
plans, and proposed one which some of his engines had put 
into his hands. M. Necker, whose characteristic is the want 
of firmness, was browbeaten and intimidated, and the King 

He determined that the two plans should be deliberated 
on <the next day, and the seance royale put off a day longer. 
This encouraged a fiercer attack on M. Necker the next 
day; his plan was totally dislocated, and that of the Count 
d'Artois inserted into it. Himself and Monsieur de Mont- 
morin offered their resignation, which was refused; the 
Count d'Artois saying to M. Necker, "No, Sir, you must be 
kept as the hostage ; we hold you responsible 'for all the ill 
which shall happen." This change of plan was immediately 
whispered without doors. The nobility were in triumph, 
the people in consternation. When the King passed, the 


next day, through the lane they formed from the Chateau 
to the H6tel des Etats (about half a mile), there was a dead 
silence. He was about an hour in the House delivering his . 
speech and declaration, copies of which I inclose you. On 
his coming out, a feeble cry of " Vive le Roi " was raised by 
some children, but the people remained silent and sullen. 
When the Duke of Orleans followed, however, their ap- 
plauses were excessive. This must have been sensible to 
the King. He had ordered, in the close of his speech, that 
the members should follow him, and resume their deliber- 
ations the next day. The Noblesse followed him, and so 
did the Clergy, except about thirty, who, with the Tiers, re- 
mained in the room and entered into deliberation. They 
protested against what the King had done, adhered to all 
their former proceedings, and resolved the inviolability of 
their own persons. An officer came twice to order them 
out of the room, in the King's name, but they refused to 

In the afternoon, the people, uneasy, began to assemble in 
great numbers in the courts and vicinities of the palace. 
The Queen was alarmed, and sent for M. Necker. He was 
conducted amidst the shouts and acclamations of the multi- 
tude, who filled all the apartments of the palace. He was 
a few minutes only with the Queen, and about three-quarters 
of an hour with the King. Not a word has transpired of 
what passed at these interviews. The King was j ust going to 
ride out. He passed through the crowd to his carriage, and 
into it, without being in the least noticed. As H. Necker 
followed him, universal acclamations were raised of " Vive 
Monsieur Necker, vive le sauveur de la France opprimSe." 
He was conducted back to his house with the same demon- 
strations of affection and anxiety These circum- 
stances must wound the heart of the King, desirous as he is 
to possess the affections of his subjects 

June 25th. Just returned from Versailles, I am enabled 
to continue my narration. On the 24th nothing remarkable 
passed, except an attack by the mob of Versailles on the 
Archbishop of Paris, who had been one of the instigators of 
the court to the proceedings of th$ seance royale. They 
threw mud and stones at his carriage, broke the windows 
of it, and he in a fright promised to join the Tiers, 


To John Jay, June 29th, 1789, 

I have before mentioned to you the ferment into which 
the proceedings at the seance royale of the 23d had thrown ' 
the people. The soldiery also were affected by it. It be- 
gan in the French Guards, extended to those of every other 
denomination (except the Swiss), and even to the body- 
guards of the King. They began to quit their barracks, to 
assemble in squads, to declare they would defend the life of 
the King, but would not cut the throats of their fellow-citi- 
zens. They were treated and caressed by the people, car- 
ried in triumph through the streets, called themselves the 
soldiers of the nation, and left no doubt on which side- they 
would be in case of a rupture. 

In his Memoir Jefferson writes, in allusion to the spirit 
among the soldiery above noticed : 

Extract from Memoir. 

The operation of this medicine at Versailles was as sud- 
den as it was powerful. The alarm there was so complete, 
that in the afternoon of the 27th the King wrote, with his 
own hand, letters to the Presidents of the Clergy and No- 
bles, engaging them immediately to join the Tiers. These 
two bodies were debating and hesitating, when notes from 
the Count d'Artois decided their compliance. They went 
in a body, and took their seats with the Tiers, and thus ren- 
dered the union of the orders in one Chamber complete 

But the quiet of their march was soon disturbed by infor- 
mation that troops, and particularly the foreign troops, were 
advancing on Paris from various quarters. The Bang had 
probably been advised to this, on the pretext of preserving 
peace in Paris. But his advisers were believed to have oth- 
er things iu contemplation. The Marshal de Broglio was 
appointed to their command & high-flying aristocrat, cool, 
and capable of every thing. Some of the French Guards 
were soon arrested under other pretexts, but really on ac- 
count of their dispositions in favor of the national cause. 
The people of Paris forced their prison, liberated them, and 
sent a deputation to the Assembly to solicit a pardon. The 
Assembly recommended peace and order to the people of 


Paris, the prisoners to the King, and asked from him the 
removal of the troops. His answer was negative and dry, 
saying they might remove themselves, if they pleased, to 
Noyons or Soissons. In the mean time, these troops, to the 
number of twenty or thirty thousand, had arrived, and were 
posted in and between Paris and Versailles. The bridges 
and passes were guarded. At three o'clock in the afternoon 
of the llth of July, the Count de la Luzerne was sent to no- 
tify M. Necker of his dismission, and to enjoin him to retire 
instantly, without saying a word of it to any body. He 
went home, dined, and proposed to his wife a visit to a 
friend, but went in fact to his country-house at St. Ouen, 
and at midnight set out for Brussels. This was not Known 
till the next day (the 12th), .when the whole ministry was 
changed, except Villederril, of the domestic department, 

and Barenton, Garde des Sceaux 

The news of this change began to be known at Paris 
about one or two o'clock In the afternoon a body of about 
one hundred German cavalry were advanced and drawn up 
in the Place Louis XV., and about two hundred Swiss post- 
ed at a little distance in their rear. This drew people to the 
spot, who thus accidentally found themselves in front of the 
troops, merely at first as spectators ; but, as their numbers 
increased, their indignation rose. They retired a few steps, 
and posted themselves on and behind large piles of stones, 
large and small, collected in that place for a bridge, which 
was to be built adjacent to it. In this position, happening 
to be in my carriage on a visit, I passed through the lane 
they had formed without interruption. But the moment 
after I had passed the people attacked the cavalry with 
stones. They charged, but the advantageous position of 
the people, and the showers of stones, obliged the horses to 
retire and quit the field altogether, leaving one of their num- 
ber on the ground, and the Swiss in their rear not moving 
to their aid. This was the signal for universal insurrection, 
and this body of cavalry, to avoid being massacred, retired 
towards Versailles. 

After describing the events of the, 13th and 14th, and of 
the imperfect report of them which reached the King, he 



But at night the Duke de Liancourt forced Ms way into 
the Bong's bed-chamber, and obliged him to hear a full and 
animated detail of the disasters of the day in Paris. He 
went to bed fearfully impressed. 

After alluding to the demolition of the Bastile, he says: 

The alarm at Versailles increased. The foreign troops 
were ordered off instantly. Every minister resigned. The 
King confirmed Bailly as Pr6v6t des Marchands, wrote to 
M. JSTecker to recall Mm, sent his letter open to the Assem- 
bly, to be forwarded by them, and invited them to go with 
him to Paris the next day, to satisfy the city of his disposi- 
tions. [Then comes a list of the Court favorites who fled 
that night.] The King came to Paris, leaving the Queen in 
consternation for Ms return. Omitting the less important 
figures of the procession, the Bong's carriage was in the cen- 
tre ; on each side of it, the Assembly, in two ranks, afoot ; 
at their head the Marquis de Lafayette, as commander-in- 
chief, on horseback, and Bourgeois guards before and behind. 
About sixty thousand citizens, of all forms and conditions, 
armed with the conquests of the Bastile and Invalides, as far 
as they would go, the rest with pistols, swords, pikes, prun- 
iag-hooks, scythes, etc., lined all the streets through which 
the procession passed, and with the crowds of the people in 
the streets, doors, and windows, saluted them everywhere 
with the cries of " Vive la nation," but not a single " Vive le 
roi" was heard. The King stopped at the H6tel de Ville. 
There M. Bailly presented, and put into his hat, the popular 
cockade, and addressed him. The King being unprepareci, 
and unable to answer, Bailly went to Mm, gathered some 
scraps of sentences, and made out ah answer, which he de- 
livered to the audience as from the Bong. On their return, 
the popular cries were, "Vive le roi et la nation !" He was 
conducted by a garde Bourgeoise to his palace at Versailles, 
and thus concluded such an " amende honorable " as no sov- 
ereign ever made, and no people ever received. 

After speaking of the precious occasion that was here lost, 
of sparing to France the crimes and cruelties through which 
she afterwards passed, and of the good disposition of the 
young Bong, he says : 


But he had a queen of absolute sway over his weak mind 
and timid virtue, and of a character the reverse of his in all 
points. This angel, so gaudily painted in the rhapsodies of 
Burke, with some smartness of fancy but no sound sense, was 
proud, disdainful of restraint, indignant at all obstacles to 
her will, eager in the pursuit of pleasure, and firm enough to 
hold to her desires, or perish in their wreck. Her inordinate 
gambling and dissipations, with those of the Count d'-Artois 
and others of her clique^ had been a sensible item in the ex- 
haustion of the treasury, which called into action the reform- 
ing hand of the nation; and her opposition to it, her inflexi- 
ble perverseness, and dauntless spirit-, led herself to the guil- 
lotine, drew the King on with her, and plunged the world 
into crimes and calamities which will forever stain the pages 
of modern history. I have ever believed that, had there been 
no queen, there would have been no revolution. No force 
would have been provoked nor exercised. The King would 
have gone hand in hand with the wisdom of his sounder 
counsellors, who, guided by the increased lights of the age, 
wished only with the same pace to advance the principles of 
their social constitution. The deed which closed the mortal 
course of these sovereigns I shall neither approve nor con- 
demn. I am not prepared to say that the first magistrate of 
a nation can not commit treason against his country, or is 
unamenable to its punishment ; nor yet that, where there is 
no written law, no regulated tribunal, there is not a law in 
our hearts and a power in our hands, given for righteous em- 
ployment in maintaining right and redressing wrong 

* I should have shut up the Queen in a convent, putting 
harm out of her power, and placed the King in his station, 
investing him with limited powers, which, I verily believe, he 
would have honestly exercised, according to the measure of 
his understanding. 

After giving further details, he goes on to say : 

In this uneasy state of things, I received one day a note 
from the Marquis de Lafayette, informing me that he should 
bring a party of six or eight friends to ask a dinner of me 
the next day. I assured him of their welcome. When 
they arrived they were Lafayette himself, Duport, Barnave, 


Alexander la Meth, Blacon , Mounier, Maubourg, and Dagout. 
These were leading patriots of honest but differing opinions, 
sensible of the necessity of effecting a coalition by mutual 
sacrifices, knowing each other, and not afraid, therefore, to 
unbosom themselves mutually. This last was a material 
principle in the selection. With this view the Marquis had 
invited the conference, and had fixed the time and place in- 
advertently, as to tHa embarrassment under which it might 
place me. The cloth being removed, and wine set on the 
table, after the American manner, the Marquis introduced 

the objects of the conference The discussions began 

at the hour of four, and were continued till ten o'clock in the 
evening ; during which time I was a silent witness to a cool- 
ness and candor of argument unusual in the conflicts of po- 
litical opinion to a logical reasoning and chaste eloquence 
disfigured by no gaudy tipsel of rhetoric or declamation, and 
truly worthy of being placed in parallel with the finest dia- 
logues of antiquity, as handed to us by Xenophon, by Plato, 

and Cicero 

But duties of exculpation were now incumbent on me. I 
waited on Count Montmorin the next morning, and explain- 
ed to him, with truth and candor, how it had happened that 
my house had been made the scene of conferences of such a 
character. He told me he already knew every thing which 
had passed ; that, so far from taking umbrage at the use made 
of my house on that occasion, he earnestly wished I would 
habitually assist at such conferences, being sure I should be 
useful in moderating the warmer spirits, and promoting a 
wholesome and practicable reformation. * 

Nothing of further interest as regards the French Revolu- 
tion appears in Jefferson's Memoir. 



Washington nominates Jefferson as Secretary of State. Jeflerson's Kegret. 
Devotion of Southern Statesmen to Country Life. Letter to Washington. 
Jefferson accepts the Appointment. Marriage of his Daughter. He 
leaves for New York. Last Interview with Franklin. Letters to Son-in- 
law. Letters of Adieu to Eriends in Paris. Family Letters. 

THE calls of his country would not allow Jefferson to 
withdraw from public life, and, living in that retirement for 
which he so longed, abandon himself to the delights of rural 
pursuits. On his way from Norfolk to Monticello he stop- 
ped to pay a visit, in Chesterfield County, to his sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Eppes. There he received letters -from General Wash- 
ington telling him that he had nominated him as Secretary 
of State, and urging him so earnestly and so affectionately to 
accept the appointment as to put a refusal on his part out 
of the question. He tells us in his Memoir that he received 
the proffered appointment with " real regret ;" and we can 
not doubt his sincerity. In reading the lives of the Fathers 
of the Republic, we can but be struck with their weariness 
* of public life, and their longings for the calm enjoyment of 
the sweets of domestic life in the retirement of their quiet 
homes. This was eminently the case with our great men 
from the South. Being for the most part large land-owners, 
their presence being needed on their estates, and agricultural 
pursuits seeming to have an indescribable fascination for 
them, all engagements grew irksome which prevented the 
enjoyment of that manly and independent life which they 
found at the head of a Southern plantation. The pomps and 
splendor of office had no charms for them, and we find Wash- 
ington turning with regret from the banks of the Potomac 
to go and fill the highest post in the gift of his countrymen ; 


Jefferson sighing after the sublime "beauties of his distant 
Monticello, and longing to rejoin his children and grandchil- 
dren there, though "winning golden opinions in the discharge 
of his duties as Premier; while Henry chafed in the Con- 
gressional halls, and was eager to return to his woods in 
Charlotte, though gifted with that wonderful power of speech 
whose fiery eloquence could at any moment startle his audi- 
ence to their feet. But Jefferson, in this instance, had pecu- 
liar reasons for wishing a reprieve from public duties. His 
constant devotion to them had involved his private affairs 
in sad confusion, and there was danger of the ample fortune 
which his professional success and the skillful management 
of his property had secured to him being lost, merely from 
want of time and opportunity to look after it. He dreaded, 
then, to enter upon a public career whose close he could not 
foresee ; and there is a sad tone of resignation in his letter of 
acceptance to General Washington, which seems to show 
that he felt he was sacrificing his private repose to his duty 
to his country ; yet he did not know how entirely he was sac- 
rificing his own for his country's good. I give the whole 
letter : 

To George Washington. 

Chesterfield, December 15th, 1789.. 

Sir I have received at this place the honor of your letters 
of October 13th and November the 30th, and am truly flatter- 
ed by your nomination of me to the very dignified office of 
Secretary of State, for which permit me here to return you 
my very humble thanks. Could any circumstance induce me 
to overlook the disproportion between its duties and my tal- 
ents, it would be the encouragement of your choice. But 
when I contemplate the extent of that office, embracing as it 
does the principal mass of domestic administration, together 
with the foreign, I can not be insensible 'to my inequality to 
it ; and I should enter on it with gloomy forebodings from 
the criticisms and censures of a public, just indeed in their 
intentions, but sometimes misinformed and misled, and al- 
ways too respectable to be neglected. I can not but foresee 
the possibility that this may end disagreeably for me, who, 


having no motive to public service but the public satisfac- 
tion, would certainly retire the moment that satisfaction 
should appear to languish. On the other hand, I feel a de- 
gree of familiarity with the duties of my present office, as 
far, at least, as I am capable of understanding its duties. 
The ground I have already passed over enables me to see my 
way into that which is before ma The change of govern- 
ment, too, taking place in the country where it is exercised, 
seems to open a possibility of procuring from the new rulers 
some new advantages in commerce, which may be agreeable 
to our countrymen. So that as far as my fears, my hopes, or 
my inclination might enter into this question, I confess they 
would not lead me to prefer a change. 

But it is not for an individual to choose his post. You 
are to marshal us as may be best for the public good ; and 
it is only in the case of its being indifferent to you, that I 
would avail myself of the option you have so kindly offered 
in your letter. If you think it better to transfer me to an- 
other post, my inclination must be no obstacle ; nor shall it 
be, if there is any desire to suppress the office I now hold or 
to reduce its grade. In either of these cases, be so good as 
only to signify to me by another line your ultimate wish, 
and I will conform to it cordially. If it should be to remain 
at New York, my chief comfort will be to work under your 
eye, my only shelter the authority of your name, and the 
wisdom of measures to be dictated by you and implicitly ex- 
ecuted by me. Whatever you may be pleased to decide, I 
do not see that the matters which have called me hither will 
permit me to shorten the stay I originally asked ; that is to 
say, to set out on my journey northward till the month of 
March. As early as possible in that month, I shall have the 
honor of paying my respects to you in New York. In the 
mean time, I have that of tendering you the homage of those 
sentiments of respectful attachment with which I am, Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant, 



After some further correspondence with General Washing- 
ton on the subject, Mr. Jefferson finally accepted the appoint- 
ment of Secretary of State, though with what reluctance the 
reader can well judge from the preceding letter. 


Before setting out for New York, the seat of government, 
Jefferson gave away in marriage his eldest daughter, Mar- 
tha. The wedding took place at Monticello on the 23d of 
February (1790), and the fortunate "bridegroom was young 
Thomas Mann Randolph, of Tuckahoe, the son of Colo- 
nel Thomas Mann Randolph, of Tuckahoe, who had been 
Colonel Peter Jefferson's ward. Young Randolph had 
visited Paris in 1788, and spent a portion of the summer 
there after the completion of his education at the Univer- 
sity of Edinburgh, and we may suppose that the first love- 
passages which resulted in their marriage took place be- 
tween the young people at that time. They were second- 
cousins, and had known each other from tfreir earliest child- 

The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr. 
Maury of the Episcopal Church, and two people were rarely 
ever united in marriage whose future seemed to promise a 
happier life. I have elsewhere noticed the noble qualities 
both of head and heart which were possessed by Martha 
Jefferson. It was the growth and development of these 
which years afterwards made John Randolph, of Roanoke 
though he had quarrelled with her father pronounce her 
the " noblest woman in Virginia."* Thomas Mann Randolph 
was intellectually not less highly gifted. He was a constant 
student, and for his genius and acquirements ranked among 
the first students at the University of Edinburgh. In that 
city he received the same attentions and held the same posi- 
tion in society which his rank, his wealth, and his brilliant 
attainments commanded for him at home. The bravest of 
the brave, chivalric in his devotion to his friends and in his 
admiration and reverence for the gentler sex ; tall and grace- 
ful in person, renowned in his day as an athlete and for 
his splendid horsemanship, with a head and face of unusual 
intellectual beauty, bearing a distinguished name, and pos- 

* It was on the occasion of a dinner-party, when some one proposing to 
drink the health of Mrs. Randolph, John Randolph rose and said, "Yes, gen- 
tlemen, let us drink the health of the noblest woman in Virginia," 


sessing an ample fortune, any woman might have been deem- 
ed happy who was led "by him to the hymeneal altar. 

A few days after his daughter's marriage, Mr. Jefferson set 
out for New York, going by the way of Richmond; At Al- 
exandria the Mayor and citizens gave him a public reception. 
He had intended travelling in his own carriage, which met 
him at that point, but a heavy fall of snow taking place, he 
sent it around by water, and took a seat in the stage, having 
his horses led. In consequence of the bad condition of the 
roads, his journey was a tedious one, it taking a fortnight for 
him to travel from Richmond to New Tort He occasional- 
ly left the stage floundering in the mud, and, mounting one 
of his led horses, accomplished parts of his journey on horse- 
back. On the 17th of March he arrived in Philadelphia, and 
hearing of the illness of his aged friend, Dr, Franklin, went 
at once to visit him, and in his Memoir speaks thus of his 
interview with him : 

At Philadelphia I called on the venerable and beloved 
Franklin. He was then on the bed of sickness, from which 
he never rose. My recent return from a country in which 
he had left so many friends, and the perilous convulsions to 
which they had been exposed, revived all his anxieties to 
' know what part they had taken, what had been their course, 
and what their fate. He went over all in succession with a 
rapidity and animation almost too much for his strength. 
When all his inquiries were satisfied and a pause took place, 
I told him I had learned with pleasure that, since his return 
to America, he had been occupied in preparing for the world 
the history of his own life. " I can not say much of that," 
said he ; " but I will give you a sample of what I shall leave,** 
and he directed his little grandson (William Bache), who was 
standing by the bedside, to hand him a paper from the table 
to which he pointed. He did so ; and the Doctor, putting it 
into my hands, desired me to take it and read it at my lei- 
sure. It was about a quire of folio paper, written in a large 
and running hand, very like his own. I looked into it slight- 
ly, then shut it, and said I would accept his permission to 
read it, and would carefully return it. He said "No, keep 


it" Not certain of his meaning, I again looked into it, fold- 
ed it for my pocket, and said again, I would certainly return 
it * No," said he ; " keep it." I put it into my pocket, and 
shortly after took leave of him. 

He died on the 17th of the ensuing month of April; and as 
I understood he had bequeathed all his papers to his grand- 
son, William Temple Franklin, I immediately wrote to Mr. 
Franklin, to inform him I possessed this paper, which I 
should consider as his property, and would deliver it to his 
order. He came on immediately to New York, called on me 
for it, and I delivered it to him. As he put it into his pock- 
et, he said, carelessly, he had either the original, or another 
copy of it, I do not recollect which. This last expression 
struck iny attention forcibly, and for the first time suggest- 
ed to me the thought that Dr. Franklin had meant it as 
a confidential deposit in my hands, and that I had done 
wrong in parting from it. 

I have not yet seen the collection of Dr. Franklin's works 
that he published, and therefore know not if this is among 
them. I have been told it is not. It contained a narrative 
of the negotiations between Dr. Franklin and the British Min- 
istry, when he was endeavoring to prevent the contest of 
arms that followed. The negotiation was brought about by 
the intervention of Lord Howe and his sister, who, I believe, 
was called Lady Howe, but I may misremember her title. 

Lord Howe seems to have been friendly to America, and 
exceedingly anzious to prevent a rupture. His intimacy 
with Dr. Franklin, and his position with the Ministry, in- 
duced Mm to undertake a mediation between them, in which 
his sister seems to have been associated. They carried from 
one to the other, backward and forward, the several prop- 
ositions and answers which passed, and seconded with their 
own intercessions the importance of mutual sacrifices, to 
preserve the peace and connection of the two countries. I 
remember that Lord North's answers were dry, unyielding, 
in the spirit of unconditional submission, and betrayed an 
absolute indifference to the occurrence of a rupture ; and he 
said to the mediators, distinctly, at last, that " a rebellion was 
not to be deprecated on the part of Great Britain ; that the 
confiscations it would produce would provide for many of 
ibflir friends." This ^expression was reported by the media- 


tors to Dr. Franklin, and indicated so cool and calculated a 
purpose in the Ministry as to render compromise impossible, 
and the negotiation was discontinued. 

If this is not among the papers published, we ask what has 
become of it? I delivered it with my own hands into those 
of Temple Franklin. It certainly established views so atro- 
cious in the British Government, that its suppression would 
be to them worth a great price. But could the grandson of 
Dr. Franklin be in such a degree an accomplice in the parri- 
cide of the memory of his immortal grandfather? The sus- 
pension for more than twenty years of the general publica- 
tion, bequeathed and confided to him, produced for a while 
hard suspicion against him ; and if at last all are not publish- 
ed, a part of these suspicions may remain with some. 

I arrived at New York on the 21st of March, where Con- 
gress was in session. 

Jefferson's first letter from New York was to his son-in- 
law, Mr. Randolph, and is dated New York, March 28th. 
He gives him an account of the journey, which speaks much 
for the tedium of travelling in those days. 

Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph* 

I arrived here on the 21st instant, after as laborious a jour- 
ney of a fortnight from Richmond as I ever went through, 
resting only one day at Alexandria and another at Balti- 
more. I found my carriage and horses at Alexandria, but a 
snow of eighteen inches falling the same night,! saw the im- 
possibility of getting on in my carriage, so left it there, to 
be sent to me by water, and had my horses led on to this 
place, taking my passage in the stage, though relieving my- 
self a little sometimes by mounting my horse. The roads 
through the whole way were so bad that we could never go 
more than three miles an hour, sometimes not more than 
two,, and in the night not more than one. My first object 
was to look out a house in the Broad way, if possible, as be- 
ing the centre of my business. Finding none there vacant 
for the present, I have taken a small one in Maiden Lane, 
which may give me time to look about me. Much business 
had been put by for my arrival, so that I found myself all 


at once involved under an accumulation of it. When this 
shall he got through, I will be ahle to judge whether the 
ordinary business of my department will leave me any lei- 
sure. I fear there will be little. 

The reader, I feel sure, will not find out of place here the 
following very graceful letters of adieu, written by Jefferson 
to his kind friends in France: 

To the Marquis de Lafayette. 

New York, April 3d, 1790. 

Behold me, my dear friend, elected Secretary of State, in- 
stead of returning to the far more agreeable position which 
placed me in the daily participation of your friendship. I 
found the appointment in the newspapers the day of my ar- 
rival in Virginia. I had, indeed, been asked, while in France, 
whether I would accept of any appointment at home, and I 
had answered that, not meaning to remain long where I was, 
I meant it to be the last office I should ever act in. Unfor- 
tunately this letter had not arrived at the time of fixing the 
new Government. I expressed freely to the President my 
desire to return. He left me free, but still showing his own 
desire. This and the concern of others, more general than I 
had any right to expect, induced me, after three months' par- 
ley ing, to sacrifice my own inclinations. 

I have been here these ten days harnessed in my new 
gear. Wherever I am, or ever shall be, I shall be sincere in 
my friendship to you and your nation. I think, with others, 
that nations are to be governed with regard to their own in- 
terests, but I am convinced that it is their interest, in the 
long run, to be grateful, faithful to their engagements, even 
in the worst of circumstances, and honorable and generous 
always. If I had not known that the Head of our Govern- 
ment was in these sentiments, and his national and private 
ethics were the same, I would never have been where I am. 
I am sorry to tell you his health is less firm than it used to 
be. However, there is nothing in it to give alarm 

Our last news from Paris is of the eighth of January. So 
far it seemed that your revolution had got along with a 
steady pace meeting, indeed, occasional difficulties and 
dangers ; but we are not translated from depotism to liber- 


ty on a feather-bed. I have never feared for the ultimate 
result, though I have feared for you personally. Indeed, I 
hope you will never see such another 5th or 6th of October. 
Take care of yourself, my dear friend, for though I think 
your nation would in any event work out her own salva- 
tion, I am persuaded, were she to lose you, it would cost 
her oceans of blood, and years of confusion and anarchy. 
Kiss and bless your dear children for me. Learn them to 
be as you are, a cement- between our two nations, I write 
to Madame de Lafayette, so have only to add assurances of 
the respect of your affectionate friend and humble servant. 

To Madame de Corny. 

New York, April 3d, 1790. 

I had the happiness, my dear friend, to arrive in Virginia, 
after a voyage of twenty-six days only of the finest autumn 
weather it was possible, the wind having never blown hard- 
er than we would have desired it. On my arrival I found 
my name announced in the papers as Secretary of State. I 
made light of it, supposing I had only to say " No," and 
there would be an end of it. It turned out, however, other- 
wise. For though I was left free to return to France, if I in- 
sisted on it, yet I found it better in the end to sacrifice my 
own inclinations to those of others. 

After holding off, therefore, near three months, I acqui- 
esced. I did not write you while this question was in sus- 
pense, because I was in constant hope to say to you certain- 
ly I should return. Instead of that, I am now to say certain- 
ly the contrary, and instead of greeting you personally in 
Paris, I am to write you a letter of adieu. Accept, then, my 
dear Madam, my cordial adieu, and my grateful thanks for 
all the civilities and kindnesses I have received from you. 
They have been greatly more than I had a right to expect, 
and they have excited in me a warmth of esteem which it 
was imprudent in me to have given way to for a person 
whom I was one day to be separated from. Since it is so, 
continue towards me those friendly sentiments that I always 
flattered myself you entertained; let me hear from you 
sometimes, assured that I shall always feel a warm interest 
in your happiness. 

Your letter of November 25th afflicts me ; but I hopo that 



a revolution so pregnant with the general happiness of the 
nation will not in the end injure the interests of persons who 
are so friendly to the general good of mankind as yourself 
and M. de Corny. Present to him my most affectionate es- 
teem, and ask a place in his recollection Your affec- 
tionate friend aud humhle servant, 


To the Comtesse d'Houdetot. 

New York, April 2d, 1790. 

Being called by our Government to assist in the domestic 
administration, instead of paying my respects to you in per- 
son as I hoped, I am to write you a letter of adieu. Ac- 
cept, I pray you, Madame, my grateful acknowledgments 
for the manifold kindnesses by which you added so much to 
the happiness of my life in Paris. I have found here a phi- 
losophic revolution, philosophically effected. Tours, though 
a little more turbulent, has, I hope, by this time issued in 
success and peace. Nobody prays for it more sincerely 
than I do, and nobody will do more to cherish a union with 
a nation dear to us through many ties, and now more ap- 
proximated by the change in its Government. 

I found our friend Dr. Franklin in his bed cheerful and 
free from pain, but still in his bed. He took a lively inter- 
est in the details I gave him of your revolution. I ob- 
served his face often flushed in the course of it. He is 
much emaciated. M. de Crevecceur is well, but a little ap- 
prehensive that the spirit of reforming and economizing 
may reach his office. A good man will suffer if it does. 
Permit me, Madame la Comtesse, to present here my sincere 
respects to Monsieur le Comte d'Houdetot and to Monsieur 
de Sainte Lambert. The philosophy of the latter will have 
been greatly gratified to see a regeneration of the condition 
of man in Europe so happily begun in his own country. 
Repeating to you, Madame, my sincere sense of your good- 
ness to me, and my wishes to prove it on every occasion, 
adding my sincere prayer that Heaven may bless you with 
many years of life and health, I pray you to accept here the 
homage of those sentiments of respect and attachment with 
which I have the honor to be, Madame la Comtesse, your 
most obedient and humble servant, 



We find the following interesting passage in a letter from 
Jefferson to M. Grand, written on the 23d of April : 

The good old Dr. Franklin, so long the ornament of our 
country, and I may say of the world, has at length closed 
his eminent career. He died on the 17th instant, of an im- 
posthume of his lungs, which having suppurated and burst, 
he had not strength to throw off the matter, and was suffo- 
cated by it. His illness from this imposthume was of six- 
teen days. Congress wear mourning for him, by a resolve 
of their body. 

Nearly a year later we find him writing to the President 
of the National Assembly of France as follows : 

I have it in charge from the President of the United 
States of America, to communicate to the National Assem- 
bly of France the peculiar sensibility of Congress to the 
tribute paid to the memory of Benjamin Franklin by the . 
enlightened and free representatives of a great nation, in 
their decree of the llth of June, 1790. 

That the loss of such a citizen should be lamented by us 
among whom he lived, whom he so long and eminently 
served, and who feel their country advanced and honored 
by his birth, life, and labors, was to be expected. But it re- 
mained for the National Assembly of France to set the first 
example of the representatives of one nation doing homage, 
by a public act, to the private citizen of another, and, by 
withdrawing arbitrary lines of separation, to reduce into 
one fraternity the good and the great, wherever they have 
lived or died. 

Jefferson's health was not good during the spring of the 
year 1790, and although he remained at his post he was in- 
capacitated for business during the whole of the month of 
May. He was frequently prostrated from the effects of se- 
vere headaches, which sometimes lasted for two or three 
days. His health was not re-established before July. 

I give now his letters home, which were written to bis 
daughters. Mrs. Randolph was living at Monticello, and 


Maria, or " little Poll," now not quite twelve years old, was 
at Eppington on a visit to her good Aunt Eppes. These let- 
ters give an admirable pictoe of Jefferson as the father, and 
betray an almost motherly tenderness of love for, and watch- 
fulness over, his daughters. Martha, though a married wom- 
an, is warned of the difficulties and little cares of her new 
situation in life, and receives timely advice as to how to 
steer clear of them; while little Maria is urged to prosecute 
her studies, to be good and industrious, in terms so full of 
love as to make his fatherly advice almost irresistible. The 
letters show, too, his longing for home, and how eagerly he 
craved the small news, as well as the- great, of the loved 
ones he had left behind in Virginia. I give sometimes an 
extract, instead of the whole letter. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. [Extract.'] 

New Tort, April 4th, 1790. 

I am anxious to hear from you of your health, your occu- 
pations, where you are, etc. Do not neglect your music. It 
will be a companion which will sweeten many hours of life 
to you. I assure you mine here is triste enough. Having 
had yourself and dear Poll to live with me so long, to exer- 
cise my affections and cheer me in the intervals of business, 
I feel heavily the separation from you. It is a circumstance 
of consolation to know that you are happier, and to see a 
prospect of its continuance in the prudence and even temper 
of Mr. Randolph and yourself. Tour new condition will call 
for abundance of little sacrifices. But they will be greatly 
overpaid by the measure of affection they secure to you. 
The happiness of your life now depends on the continuing 
to please a single person. To this all other objects must be 
secondary, even your love for me, were it possible that could 
ever be an obstacle. But this it never can be. Neither of 
you can ever have a more faithful friend than myself, nor 
one on whom you can count for more sacrifices. My own is 
become a secondary object to the happiness of you both. 
Cherish, then, for me, my dear child, the affection of your 
husband, and continue to love me as you have done, and to 
render my life a blessing by the prospect it may hold up to 


me of seeing you happy. Kiss Maria for me if she is with 
you, and present me cordially to Mr. Eandolph ; assuring 
yourself of the constant and unchangeable love of yours, 
affectionately, ' 


His daughter Maria, to whom the following letter is ad- 
dressed, was at the time, as I have said, not quite twelve 
years old. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

New York, April llth, 1700. 

Where are you, my dear Maria? how are you occupied? 
Write me a letter by the first post, and answer me all these 
questions. Tell me whether you see the sun rise every day? 
how many pages you read every day in Don Quixote ? how 
far you are advanced in him? whether you repeat a gram- 
mar lesson every day; what else you read? how many 
hours a day you sew ? whether you have an opportunity of 
continuing your music? whether you know how to make a 
pudding yet, to cut out a beefsteak, to sow spinach ? or to 
set a hen ? Be good, my dear, as I have always found you ; 
never be angry with any body, nor speak harm of them; try 
to let every body's faults be forgotten, as you would wish 
yours to be ; take more pleasure in giving what is best to 
another than in having it yourself, and then all the world 
will love you, and I more than all the world. If your sister 
is with you, kiss her, and tell her how much I love her also, 
and present my affections to Mr. Randolph. Love your 
aunt and uncle, and be dutiful and obliging to them for all 
their kindness to you. What would you do without them, 
and with such a vagrant for a father ? Say to both of them 
a thousand affectionate things for me; and adieu, my dear 



To Martha Jefferson Randolph 

New York, April 26th, 1791. 

I write regularly once a week to Mn Randolph, yourself, 
or Polly, in hopes it may induce a letter from one of you ev- 
ery week also. If each would answer by the first post my 
letter to them, I should receive it within the three weeks, so 
as to keep a regular correspondence with each 


I long to hear how you pass your time. I think both Mr. 
Randolph and yourself will suffer with ennui at Richmond. 
Interesting occupations are essential to happiness. Indeed 
the whole art of being happy consists in the art of finding 
employment. I know none so interesting, and which crowd 
upon us so much as those of a domestic nature. I look for- 
ward, therefore, to your commencing housekeepers in your 
own farm, with some anxiety. Till then you will not know- 
how to fill up your time, and your weariness of the things 
around you *will assume the form of a weariness of one an- 
other. I hope Mr. Randolph's idea of settling near Monti- 
cello will gain strength, and that no other settlement will, 
in the mean time, be fixed on. I wish some expedient may 
be devised for settling him at Edgehill. No circumstance 
ever made me feel so strongly the thralldom of Mr. Wayles's 
debt. Were I liberated from that, I should not fear but that 
Colonel Randolph and myself, by making it a joint contri- 
bution, could effect the fixing you there, without interfering 
with what he otherwise proposes to give Mr. Randolph. I 
shall hope, when I return to Virginia in the fall, that some 
means may be found of effecting all our wishes. 

From Mary Jefferson. 

Eichmond, April 25th, 1790. 

My dear Papa I am afraid you will be displeased in 
knowing where I am, but I hope you will not, as Mr. Ran- 
dolph certainly had some good reason, though I do not know 
it* I have not been able to read in Don Quixote every day,, 
as I have been travelling ever since I saw you last, and the 
dictionary is too large to go in the pocket of the chariot, nor 
have I yet had an opportunity of continuing my music. I 
am now reading Robertson's America, I thank you for the 
advice you were so good as to give me, and will try to follow 
it. Adieu, my dear papa. I am your affectionate daughter, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

New York, May 2d, 1790. 

My dear Maria I wrote to you three weeks ago, and have 
not yet received an answer. I hope, however, that one is on 

* Mr, Randolph took her to Richmond. 


the way, and that I shall receive it by the first post. I think 
it very long to have been absent from Virginia two months, 
and not to have received a line from yourself, your sister, or 
Mr. Randolph, and I am very uneasy at it. As I write once 
a week -to one or the other of you in turn, if you would an- 
swer my letter the day, or the day after you receive it, it 
would always come to hand before I write the next to you. 
We had two days of snow the beginning of last week. Let 
me know if it snowed where you are. I send you some 
prints of a new kind for your amusement. I send several to 
enable you to be generous to your friends. I want much to 
hear how you employ yourself. Present my best affections 
to your uncle, aunt, and cousins, if you are with them, or to 
Mr. Randolph and your sister, if with them. Be assured of 
my tender love to you, and continue yours to your affec- 



From Mary Jefferson. 

Eppington, May 23d, 1790. 

Dear Papa I received your affectionate letter when I was 
at Presqu'il, but was not able to answer it before I came 
here, as the next day we went to Aunt Boiling's and then 
came here. I thank you for the pictures you were so kind as 
to send me, and will try that your advice shall not be thrown 
away. I read in Don Quixote every day to my aunt, and 
say my grammar in Spanish and English, and write, and 
read in Robertson's America. After I am done that, I work 
till dinner, and a little more after. It did not snow at all 
last month. My cousin Boiling and myseif made a pudding 
the other day. My aunt has given us a hen and chickens. 
Adieu, my dear papa. Believe me to be your dutiful ana af- 
fectionate daughter, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

New Yoifc, Maj 23d, 1790. 

My dear Maria I was glad to receive your letter of 
April 25th, because I had been near two months without 
hearing from any of you. Tour last told me what you, were 
not doing ; that you were not reading Don Quixote, not ap- 


plying to your music. I hope your next will tell me what you 
are doing. Tell your uncle that the President, after having 
been so ill as at one time to be thought dying, is now quite 
recovered.* I have been these three weeks confined by a 
periodical headache. It has been the most moderate I ever 
had, but it has not yet left me. Present my best affections 
to your uncle and aunt. Tell the latter I shall never have 
thanks enough for her kindness to you, and that you will re- 
pay her in love and duty. Adieu, my dear Maria. 

Yours affectionately, 


To Mrs. JSppes. 

New York, June 13th, 1790. 

Dear Madam I have received your favor of May 23, and 
with great pleasure, as I do every thing which comes from 
you. I have had a long attack of my periodical headache, 
which was severe for a few days, and since that has been very 
moderate. Still, however, it hangs upon me a little, though 
for about ten days past I have been able to resume business. 
I am sensible of your goodness and attention to my dear Poll, 
and really jealous of you ; for I have always found that you 
disputed with me the first place in her affections. It would 
give me infinite pleasure to have her with me, but there is 
no good position here, and indeed we are in too unsettled a 
state ; the House of Representatives voted the day before 
yesterday, by a majority of 53 against 6, to remove to Balti- 
more ; but it is very doubtful whether the Senate will con- 
cur. However, it may, very possibly, end in a removal either 
to that place or Philadelphia. In either case, I shall be near- 
er home, and in a milder climate, for as yet we have had not 
more than five or six summer days. Spring and fall they 
never have, as far as I can learn ; they have ten months of 
winter, two of summer, with some winter days interspersed. 
Does Mr. Eppes sleep any better since the 6th of March. 
Remember me to him in the most friendly terms, and be as- 
sured of the cordial and eternal affection of yours sincerely, 


* In a letter to his daughter, Mrs. Randolph, after mentioning the Presi- 
dent's illness and convalescence, he says, "He continues mending to-day, and 
from total despair we are now in good hopes of him.** 


To Mary Jefferson. 

New York, June 13th, 1790. 

My dear Maria I have received your letter of May 23d, 
which was in answer to mine of May 2d, but I wrote you 
also on the 23d of May, so that you still owe me an answer 
to that, which I hope is now on the road. In matters of cor- 
respondence as well as of money, you must never-be in debt 
I am much pleased with the account you give me of your 
occupations, and the making the pudding is as good an ar- 
ticle of them as any. When I come to Virginia I shall in- 
sist on eating a pudding of your own making, as well as on 
trying other specimens of your skill. You must make the 
most of your time while you are with so good an aunt, who 
can learn you every thing. We had not peas nor strawber- 
ries here till the 8th day of this month. On the same day 
I heard the first whip-poor-will whistle. Swallows and mar- 
tins appeared here on the 21st of April When did they ap- 
pear with you ? and when had you peas, strawberries, and 
whip-poor-wills in Virginia ? Take notice hereafter whether 
the whip-poor-wills always come with the strawberries and 
peas. Send me a copy of the maxims I gave you, also a list 
of the books I promised you. I have had a long touch of 
ray periodical headache, but a very moderate one. It has 
not quite left me yet. Adieu, my dear ; love your uncle, 
aunt, and cousins, and me more than all. 

Yours affectionately, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

New York, Jdy 4th, 1790. 

I have written you, my dear Maria, four letters since I 
have been here, and I have received from you only two* 
You owe me two, then, and the present will make three. 
This is a kind of debt I will not give up. You may ask 
how I will help myself. By petitioning your aunt, as soon 
as you receive a letter, to make you go without your dinner 
till you have answered it. How goes on the Spanish ? How 
many chickens have you raised this summer? Send me 
a list of the books I have promised you at different times. 


Tell me what sort of weather you have had, what sort of 
crops are likely to "be made, how your uncle and aunt and 
the family do, and how you do yourself. I shall see you in 
September for a short time. Adieu, my dear Poll. 
Yours affectionately, 


From Mary Jefferson. 

Eppington, July 20th, 1790. 

Dear Papa I hope you will excuse my not writing to 
you before, though I have none for myself. I am very sorry 
to hear that you have been sick, but flatter myself that it is 
over. My aunt Skipwith has been very sick, but she is bet- 
ter now ; we have been to see her two or three times. You 
tell me in your last letter that you will see me in Septem- 
ber, but I have received a letter from my brother that says 
you will not be here before February; as his is later than 
yours, I am afraid you have changed your mini The books 
that you have promised me are Anacharsis and Gibbon's Ro- 
man Empire. If you are coming in September, I hope you 
will not forget your promise of buying new jacks for the pi- 
ano-forte that is at Monticello. Adieu, my dear papa. 
I am your affectionate daughter, 


From Mary Jefferson. 

% Eppington, 1 1790. 

Dear Papa I have just received your last favor, of July 
25th, and am determined to write to you every day till I 
have discharged my debt. When we were in Cumberland 
we went to church, and heard some singing-masters that 
sang very well. They are to come here to learn my sister to 
sing; and as I know you have no objection to my learning 
any thing, I am to be a scholar, and hope to give you the 
pleasure of hearing an anthem. We had peas the 10th of 
May, and strawberries the 17th of the same month, though 
not in that abundance we are accustomed to, in consequence 
of a frost this spring. As for the martins, swallows, and 
whip-poor-wills, I was so taken up with ray chickens that I 
never attended to them, and therefore can not tell you when 
they came, though I was so unfortunate as to lose half of 


them (the chickens), for my cousin Boiling and myself have 
raised but thirteen between us. Adieu, my dear papa. 
Believe me to be your affectionate daughter, 


The following beautiful letter to Mrs. Randolph was called 
forth by the marriage of her father-in-law to a lady of a dis- 
tinguished name in Virginia. At the time of his second mar- 
riage, Colonel Randolph was advanced in years, and his bride 
still in her teens. The marriage settlement alluded to in the 
letter secured to her a handsome fortune. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Kew York, July 17th, 1700, 

My dear Patsy I received two days ago yours of July 
2d, with Mr. Randolph's of July 3d. Mine of the llth to 
Mr. Randolph will have informed you that I expect to set 
out from hence for Monticello about the 1st of September. 
As this depends on the adjournment of Congress, and they 
begin to be impatient, it is more probable that I may set out 
sooner than later. However, my letters will keep you better 
informed as the time approaches. 

CoL Randolph's maraage was to be expected. All his 
amusements depending on society, he can not live alone. 
The settlement spoken of may be liable to objections in 
point of prudence and justice. However, I hope it will not 
be the cause of any diminution of affection between him and 
Mr. Randolph, and yourself. That can not remedy the evil, 
and may make it a great deal worse. Besides your interests, 
which might be injured by a misunderstanding, be assured 
that your happiness would be infinitely affected. It would 
be a canker-worm corroding eternally on your minds. There- 
fore, my dear child, redouble your assiduities to keep the af- 
fections of Col. Randolph and his lady (if he is to have one), 
in proportion as the difficulties increase. He is an excellent, 
good man, to whose temper nothing can be objected, but too 
much facility, too much milk. Avail yourself of this soft- 
ness, then, to obtain his attachment. 

If the lady has any thing difficult in her disposition, avoid 
what is rough, and attach her good qualities to you. Consid- 


or what are otherwise as a bad stop in your harpsichord, and 
do not touch on it, but make yourself happy with the good 
ones. Every human being, my dear, must thus be viewed, 
according to what it is good for; for none of us, no not one, 
is perfect ; and were we to love none who had imperfections, 
this world would be a desert for our love. All we can do is 
to make the best of our friends, love and cherish what is good 
in them, and keep out of the way of what is bad ; but no 
more think of rejecting them for it, than of throwing away a 
piece of music for a flat passage or two. Tour situation 
will require peculiar attentions and respects to both parties. 
Let no proof be too much for either your patience or acqui- 
escence. Be you, my dear, the link of love, union, and peace 
for the whole family. The world will give you the more 
credit for it, in proportion to the difficulty of the task, and 
your own happiness will be the greater as you perceive 
that you promote that of others. Former acquaintance and 
equality of age will render it the easier for you to cultivate 
and gain the love of the lady. The mother, too, becomes 
a very necessary object of attentions. 

This marriage renders it doubtful with me whether it will 
be better to direct our overtures to Col. R. or Mr. H. for a 
farm for Mr. Randolph. Mr, H. has a good tract of land on 
the other side of Edgehill, and it may not be unadvisable 
to begin by buying out a dangerous neighbor. I wish Mr. 
Randolph could have him sounded to see if he will sell, and 
at what price ; but sounded through such a channel as would 
excite no suspicion that it comes from Mr. Randolph or 'my- 
self* Coi Monroe would be a good and unsuspected hand, 
as he once thought of buying the same lands. Adieu, my 
dear child. Present my warm attachment to Mr. Randolph. 

Yours affectionately, 




Jefferson goes with the President to Khode Island. Visits Monticeflo. 
Letter to Mrs. Eppes. Goes to Philadelphia. Family Letters. Letter 
to Washington. Goes to Monticello. Letters to his Daughter. His 
Ana. Letters to his Daughter, To General Washington. To La&y- 
ette. To his Daughter. 

IN the month of August (1790) Jefferson went with the 
President on a visit to Rhode Island. In his recent tour 
through New England, the President had not visited Rhode 
Island, because that State had not then adopted the new Con- 
stitution ; now, however, wishing to recruit a little after his 
late illness, he bent his steps thither* On the 1st of Sep- 
tember Jefferson set out for Virginia. He offered Mr. Madi- 
son a seat in his carnage, and the two friends journeyed home 
together, stopping at Mount Vernon to pay a visit of two 
days to the President. He arrived at Monticello on the 19th, 
and found his whole family assembled there to welcome him 
back after his six months' absence. 

On the eve of his return to the seat of government he 
wrote ,a letter to Mrs. Eppes, from which I give the follow- 
ing extract : 

The solitude she (Mrs. Randolph) will be in induces me to 
leave Polly with her this winter. In the spring I shall have 
her at Philadelphia, if I can find a good situation for her 
there. I would not choose to have her there after fourteen 
years of age. As soon as^ I am fixed in Philadelphia, I shall 
be in hopes of receiving Jack. Load him, on his departure, 
with charges not to give his heart to any object he will find 
there. I know no such useless bauble in a house as a girl 
of mere city education. She would finish by fixing him 
there and ruining him. I will enforce on him your charges, 
and all others which shall be for his good. 


After enjoying the society of his children and the sweets 
of domestic life for not quite two months, Jefferson reluc- 
tantly turned his back upon home once more, and set out for 
the seat of government on the 8th of November. Mr. Madi- 
son again took a seat in his carriage on returning, and they 
once more stopped at Mount Vernon, where "Washington still 
lingered, enjoying the repose of home life on the peaceful 
banks of the Potomac. 

After having established himself in his new abode in Phil- 
adelphia, Mr. Jefferson began his regular weekly correspond- 
ence with his family in Virginia ; and I give the following 
letters to tell the tale of his life during his absence from 
home on this occasion, which continued from the 8th of No- 
vember, 1790, to the 12th of September, 1791. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, Dec. 1st, 1790. 

My dear Daughter In my letter of last week to Mr. Ran- 
dolph, I mentioned that I should write every Wednesday to 
him, yourself, and Polly alternately; and that my letters ar- 
riving at Monticello the Saturday, and the answer being sent 
off on Sunday, I should receive it the day before I should 
have to write again to the same person, so as that the cor- 
respondence with each would be exactly kept up. I hope 
you will do it, on your part. I delivered the fan and note to 
your friend Mrs. Waters (Miss Rittenhouse that was), she be- 
ing now married to a Dr. Waters. They live in the house 
with her father. She complained of the petit format of your 
letter, and Mrs. Trist of no letter. I inclose you the " Magasin 
des Modes " of July. My furniture is arrived from Paris ; but 
it will be long before I can open the packages, as my house 
will not be ready to receive them for some weeks. As soon 
as they are opened, the mattresses, etc., shall be sent on. 
News for Mr. Randolph the letters from Paris inform that 
as yet all is safe there. They are emitting great sums of 
paper money. They rather believe there will be no war be- 
tween Spain and England ; but the letters from London 
count on a war, and it seems rather probable. A general 
peace is established in the north of Europe, except between 


Russia and Turkey. It is expected between them also. 
Wheat here is a French crown the busheL 

Kiss dear Poll for me. Remember me to Mr. Randolph. 
I do not know yet how the Edgehill negotiation has termi- 
nated. Adieu, my dear. Yours affectionately, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, Dec. 7th, 1790. 

My dear Poll This week I write to you, and if you an- 
swer my letter as soon as you receive it, and send it to Colo- 
nel Bell at Charlottesville, I shall receive it the day before I 
write to you again that will be three weeks hence, and this 
I shall expect you to do always, so that by the correspond- 
ence of Mr. Randolph, your sister, and yourself, I may hear 
from home once a week. Mr. Randolph's letter from Rich- 
mond came to me about five days ago. How do you all do? 
Tell me that in your letter; also what is going forward with 
you, how you employ yourself, what weather you have had. 
We have already had two or three snows here. The work- 
men are so slow in finishing the house I have rented here, 
that I know not when I shall have it ready, except one room, 
which they promise me this week, and which will be my 
bed-room, study, dining-room, and parlor. I am not able to 
give any later news about peace or war than of October 
16th, which I mentioned in my last to your sister. Wheat 
has fallen a few pence, and will, I think, continue to fall, 
slowly at first, and rapidly after a while. Adieu, my dear 
Maria; kiss your sister for me, and assure Mr. Randolph of* 
my affection, I will not tell you how much I love you, lest, 
by rendering you vain, it might render you less worthy of 
my love. Encore adieu. 

TH. J. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

PhUadelphia, Dec. 23d, 1790. 

My dear Daughter This is a scolding letter for you all. 
I have not received a scrip of a pen from home since I left it. 
I think it so easy for you to write me one letter every week, 
which will be but once in the three weeks for each of you, 
when I write one every week, who have not one moment's 


repose from business, from the first to the last moment of 
the week. 

Perhaps you think you have nothing to say to me. It is a 
<reat deal to say you are all well; or that one has a cold, 
another a fever, etc. : besides that, there is not a sprig of 
grass that shoots uninteresting to me ; nor any thing that 
moves, from yourself down to Bergfcre or Grizzle. Write, 
then, my dear daughter, punctually on your day, and Mr. 
Randolph and Polly on theirs. I suspect you may have 
news to tell me of yourself of the most tender interest to 
me* Why silent, then ? 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 5th, 1791. 

I did not write to you, my dear Poll, the last week, be- 
cause I was really angry at receiving no letter. I have now 
been near nine weeks from home, and have never had a scrip 
of a pen, when by the regularity of the post I might receive 
your letters as frequently and as exactly as if I were at 
Charlottesville. I ascribed it at first to indolence, but the 
affection must be weak which is so long overruled by 
that. Adieu. TH. J. 

To Martha Jefferson JRandolpk. 

PbHadelphia, Feb. 9fch, 1791. 

My dear Martha Tour two last letters are those which 
have given me the greatest pleasure of any I ever received 
from you. The one announced that you were become a no- 
table housewife ; the other, a mother. The last is undoubt- 
edly the key-stone of the arch of matrimonial happiness, as 
the first is its daily aliment. Accept my sincere congratu- 
lations for yourself and Mr. Randolph. 

I hope you are getting well ; towards which great care of 
yourself is necessary; for however advisable it is for those in 
health to expose themselves freely, it is not so for the sick. 
You will be out in time to begin your garden, and that will 
tempt you to be out a great deal, than which nothing will 
tend more to give you health and strength. Remember me 
affectionately to Mr. Randolph and Polly, as well as to Miss 
Jenny. Tours sincerely, 



From Mary Jefferson. 

Monticello, January 22d, 1791. 

Dear Papa I received your letter of December the 7th 
about a fortnight ago, and would have answered it directly, 
but my sister had to answer hers last week and I this. We 
are all well at present. Jenny Randolph and myself keep 
house she one week, and I the other. I owe sister thirty- 
five pages in Don Quixote, and am now paying them as fast 
as I can. Last Christmas I gave sister the " Tales of the 
Castle," and she made me a present of the " Observer," a lit- 
tle ivory box, and one of her drawings ; and to Jenny she 
gave " Paradise Lost, 1 ' and some other things. Adieu, dear 
Papa. I am your affectionate daughter, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, February ICth, 1791. 

My dear Poll At length I have received a letter from 
you. As the spell is now broken, I hope you will continue 
to write every three weeks. Observe,! do not admit the 
excuse you make of not writing because your sister had not 
written the week before; let each write their own week 
without regard to what others do, or do not do. I con- 
gratulate you, my dear aunt, on your new title. I hope you 
pay a great deal of attention to your niece, and that you 
have begun to give her lessons on the harpsichord, in Span- 
ish, etc. Tell your sister I make her a present of Gregory's 
" Comparative Yiew," inclosed herewith, and that she will 
find in it a great deal of useful advice for a young mother. 
I hope herself and the child are well. Kiss them both for 
me. Present me affectionately to Mr, Randolph and Miss 
Jenny. Mind your Spanish and your harpsichord well, and 
think often and always of, yours affectionately, 


P.S. Letter inclosed, with the book for your sister. 

From Mary Jefferson. 

Monticello, Februaiy 13tb, 1701. 

Dear Papa I am very sorry that my not having writ- 
ten to you before made you doubt my affection towards 


you, and hope that after having read my last letter you 
were not so displeased as at first. In my last I said that 
my sister was very well, but she was not ; she had been sick 
all day without my knowing any thing of it, as I staid up 
stairs the whole day; however, she is very weU now, and 
the little one also. She is very pretty, has beautiful deep- 
blue eyes, and is a very fine child. Adieu, my dear papa. 
Believe me to be your affectionate daughter, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, March 9th, 1791. . 

My dear Maria I am happy at length to have a letter of 
yours to answer, for that which you wrote to me February 
I3th came to hand February 28th. I hope our correspond- 
ence will now be more regular, that you will be no more 
lazy, and I no more in the pouts on that account. On the 
27th of February I saw blackbirds and robin-redbreasts, and 
on the 7th of this month I heard frogs for the first time this 
year. Have you noted the first appearance of these things 
at Monticello ? I hope you have, and will continue to note 
every appearance, animal and vegetable, which indicates the 
approach of spring, and will communicate them to me. By 
these means we shall be able to compare the climates of 
Philadelphia and Monticello. Tell me when you shall have 
peas, etc., up ; when every thing comes to table ; when you 
shall have the first chickens hatched ; when every kind of 
tree blossoms, or puts forth leaves ; when each kind of 
flower blooms. Kiss your sister and niece for me, and pre- 
sent me affectionately to Mr. Randolph and Miss Jenny. 
Yours tenderly, my dear Maria, 

TH. J. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia^ March 2&h, 1791. 

My dear Daughter The badness of the roads retards the 
post, so that I have received no letter this week from Monti- 
cello. I shall hope soon to have one from yourself 5 to know 
from that that you are perfectly re-established, that the lit- 
tle Anne is becoming a big one, that you have received Dr. 
Gregory's book and are daily profiting from it. This will 


hardly reach you in time to put you on the watch for the 
annular eclipse of the sun, which is to happen on Sunday 
se'nnight, to begin about sunrise. It will be such a one as 
is rarely to be seen twice in one life. I have lately received 
a letter from Fulwar Skipwith, who is Consul for us in Mar- 
tinique and Guadaloupe. He fixed himself first in the for- 
mer, but has removed to the latter. Are any of your ac- 
quaintances in either of those islands ? If they are, I wish 
you would write to them and recommend him to their ac- 
quaintance. He will be a sure medium through which you 
may exchange souvenirs with your friends of a more useful 
kind than those of the convent He sent me half a dozen 
pots of very fine sweetmeats. Apples and cider are the 
greatest presents which can be sent to those islands. I 
can make those presents for you whenever you choose to 
write a letter to accompany them, only observing the sea- 
son for apples. They had better deliver their letters for 
you to F. S. Skipwith. Things are going on well in France, 
the Revolution being past all danger. The National Assem- 
bly being to separate soon, that event will seal the whole 
with security. Their islands, but more particularly St. Do- 
mingo and Martinique, are involved in a horrid civil war. 
Nothing can be more distressing than the situation of their 
inhabitants, as their slaves have been called into action, and 
are a terrible engine, absolutely ungovernable. It is worse 
in Martinique, which was the reason Mr. Skipwith left it 
An army and fleet from France are expected every hour to 
quell the disorders. I suppose you are busily engaged in 
your garden. I expect full details on that subject as well 
as from Poll, that I may judge what sort of a gardener you 
make. Present me affectionately to all around you, and be 
assured of the tender and unalterable love of, yours, 


From Mary Jefferson. 

MonticeUo, March 6th, 1793. 

According to my dear papa's request I now sit down to 
write. We were very uneasy for not having had a letter 
from you since six weeks, till yesterday I received yonrs, 
which I now answer. The marble pedestal and a dressing- 
table are come. Jenny is gone down with Mrs. Fleming, 


who came here to see sister when she was sick. I suppose 
you have not received the letter in which Mr. Randolph de- 
sires you to name the child. We hope you will c >me to see 
us this summer, therefore you must not disappoint us, and 
I expect you want to see my little niece as mu<;h as you 
do any of us. We are all well, and -hope you ?re so too. 
Adieu, dear papa. I am your affectionate daughter, 

P.S. My sister says I must tell you the child grows very fast. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, March 31st, 1791. 

My dear Maria I am happy to have a letter of yours to 
answer. That of March 6th came to my hands on the 24th. 
By-the-by, you never acknowledged the receipt of my let- 
ters, nor tell me on what day they came to hand. I pre- 
sume that by this time you have received the two dressing- 
tables with marble tops. I give one of them to your sister, 
and the other to you : mine is here with the top broken in 
two. Mr. Randolph's letter, referring to me the name of 
your niece, was very long on the road. I answered it as soon 
as I received it, and hope the answer got duly to hand. Lest 
it should have been delayed, I repeated last week to your 
sister the name of Anne, which I had recommended as be- 
longing to both families. I wrote you in my last that the 
frogs had begun their songs on the Yth ; since that the blue- 
birds saluted us on the 17th; the weeping- willow began to 
leaf on the 18th ; the lilac and gooseberry on the 25th; and 
the golden-willow on the 26th. I inclose for your sister three 
kinds of flowering beans, very beautiful and very rare. She 
must plant and nourish them with her own hand this year, 
in order to save enough seeds for herself and me. Tell Mr. 
Randolph I have sold my tobacco for five dollars per c., and 
the rise between this and September. Warehouse and ship- 
ping expenses in Virginia, freight and storage here, come to 
2*. $d. a hundred, so that it is as if I had sold it in Rich- 
mond for 27s. Zd. credit till September, or half per cent, per 
month discount for the ready money. If he chooses it, his 
Bedford tobacco may be included in the sale. Kiss every 
body for me. Tours affectionately, 



./ To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

0; Phikdelphia, April 17th, 1791. 

My de&r Daughter Since I wrote last to you, which was 
on the 24?h of March, I have received yours of March 22. I 
am indeeS sorry to hfcar of the situation of Walter Gilmer, 
and shall -hope the letters from Monticello will continue to 
inform m how he does. I know how much his parents will 
suffer, and how much he merited all their affection. Mrs. 
Trist has "been so kind as to have your calash made, but ei- 
ther by mistake of the maker or myself it is not lined with 
green. I have, therefore, desired a green lining to be got, 
which you can put in yourself if you prefer it. Mrs. Trist 
has observed that there is a kind of veil lately introduced 
here, and much approved. It fastens over the brim of the 
hat, and then draws round the neck as close or open as you 
please. I desire a couple to be made, to go with the calash 
and other things. Mr. Lewis not liking to write letters, I do 
not hear from him ; but I hope you are readily furnished 
with all the supplies and conveniences the estate affords* I 
shall not be able to see you till September, by which time 
the young grand-daughter will begin to look bold and know- 
ing. I inclose you a letter to a woman who lives, I believe, 
on Buck Island. It is from her sister in Paris, which I would 
wish you to send express. I hope your garden is flourishing. 
Present me affectionately to Mr. Randolph and Polly. 

Tours sincerely, my dear, 


I find among his letters for this month (March) the follow- 
ing friendly note to Mr. Madison : 

Jefferson to Madison. 

What say you to taking a wade into the country at noon ? 
It will be pleasant above head at least, and" the party will 
finish by dining here. Information that Colonel Beckwith is 
coming to be an inmate with you, and I presume not a de- 
sirable one, encourages me to make a proposition, which I 
did not venture as long as you had your agreeable Congres- 
sional society about you ; that is, to come and take a bed and 
plate with me. I have four rooms, of which any one is at 


your service. Three of them are up two pair of stairs, the 
other on the ground-floor, and can be in readiness to receive 
you in twenty-four hours. Let me entreat you, my dear Sir, 
to do it, if it be not disagreeable to you. To me it will be a 
relief from a solitude of which I have too much ; and it will 
lessen your repugnance to be assured it will not increase my 
expenses an atom. When I get my library open, you will oft- 
en find a convenience in being close at hand to it. The ap- 
proaching season will render this situation more agreeable 
than Fifth Street, and even in the winter you will not find it 
disagreeable. Let me, I beseech yon, have a favorable an- 
swer to both propositions. 
March 13th, 1791. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, April 24th, 1791. 

I have received, my dear Maria, your letter of March 26th. 
I find I have counted too much on you as a botanical and 
zoological correspondent, for I undertook to affirm here that 
the fruit was not killed in Virginia, because I had a young 
daughter there who was in that kind of correspondence with 
me, and who, I was sure, would have mentioned it if it had 
been so. However, I shall go on communicating to you 
whatever may contribute to a comparative estimate of the 
two climates, in hopes it will induce you to do the same to 
me. Instead of waiting to send the two veils for your sis- 
ter and yourself round with the other things, I inclose them 
with this letter. Observe that one of the strings is to be 
drawn tight round the root of the crown of the hat, and the 
veil then falling over the brim of the hat, is drawn by the 
lower string as tight or loose as you please round the neck. 
When the veil is not chosen to be down, the lower string is 
also tied round the root of the crown, so as to give the ap- 
pearance of a puffed bandage for the hat. I send also in- 
closed the green lining for the calash. J. Eppes is arrived 
here. Present my affections to Mr. R, your sister, and niece. 

Tours with tender love, 

April 5. Apricots in bloom, 

Cherry leafing. 
" 9. Peach in bloom, 

. Apple leafing. 
" 11. Cherry in blossom. 


From Mary Jefferson. 

Monticello, April 18th, 1791. 

Dear Papa I received your letter of March 31st the 14th 
of this month ; as for that of March 9, 1 received it some 
time last month, "but I do not remember the day. I have 
finished Don Quixote, and as I have not Desoles yet, I shall 
read Lazarillo de Tormes. The garden is backward, the in- 
closure having but lately been finished. I wish you would 
be so kind as to send me seven yards of cloth like the piece 
I send you. Adieu, my dear papa. 

I am your affectionate daughter, 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph* [Extract.] 

Philadelphia, May 8th, 1791. 

I thank you for all the small news of your letter, which it 
is very grateful for me to receive. I am happy to find you 
are on good terms with your neighbors. It is almost the 
most important circumstance in life, since nothing is so cor- 
roding as frequently to meet persons with whom one has 
any difference. The ill-will of a single neighbor is an im- 
mense drawback on the happiness of life, and therefore their 
good-will can not be bought too dear. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, May 8th, 1791. 

My dear Maria Tour letter of April 18th came to hand 
on the 30th ; that of May 1st I received last night. By the 
stage which carries this letter I send you twelve yards of 
striped nankeen of the pattern inclosed. It is addressed to 
the care of Mr. Brown, merchant in Richmond, and will ar- 
rive there with this letter. There are no stuffs here of the 
kind you sent. April 30th the lilac blossomed. May 4th 
the gelder-rose, dogwood, redbud, azalea were in blossom. 
We have still pretty constant fires here. I shall answer Mr. 
Randolph's letter a week hence. It will be the last I shall 
write to Monticello for some weeks, because about this day 
se'nnight I set out to join Mr. Madison at New York, from 
whence we shall go up to Albany and Lake George, then 
cross over to Bennington, and so, through Vermont to the 


Connecticut River, down Connecticut River, by Hartford, to 
New Haven, then to Xew York and Philadelphia. Take a 
map and trace this route. I expect to be back in Philadel- 
phia about the middle of June. I am glad you are to learn 
to ride, but hope that your horse is very gentle, and that 
you will never be venturesome. A lady should never ride 
ii horse which she might not safely ride without a bridle. I 
long to be with you all. Kiss the little one every morning 
for me, and learn her to run about before I come. Adieu, 

mv dear. Yours affectionately, 

The following letter from Jefferson to his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Eppes, gives us a glimpse of young Jack Eppes, his fu- 
ture son-in-law : 

To Francis Eppes. 

Phikdelphia, May 15th, 1791. 

Dear Sir Jack's letters will have informed you of his ar- 
rival here safe and in health Your favors of April 

5th and 27th are received. I had just answered a letter of 
Mr. Skipwith's on the subject of the Guineaman, and there- 
fore send you a copy of that by way of answer to your last. 
I shall be in Virginia in October, but can not yet say whether 
I shall be able to go to Richmond. 

Jack is now set in to work regularly. He passes from 
two to four hours a day at the College, completing his 
courses of sciences, and four hours at the law. Besides this, 
he will write an hour or two to learn the style of business 
and acquire a habit of writing, and will read something in 
history and government. The course I propose for him will 
employ him a couple of years. I shall not fail to impress 
upon him a due sense of the advantage of qualifying himself 
to get a living independently of other resources. As yet I 
discover nothing but a disposition to apply closely. I set 
out to-morrow on a journey of a month to Lakes George, 
Champlain, etc., and having yet a thousand things to do, I 
can only add assurances of the sincere esteem with which I 
am, dear sir, your affectionate friend and servant, 

ERAKCIS Emss, Esq., Eppington. 


In a letter of the same date to Mrs. Eppes, he writes : 


I received your favor of April 6th by Jack, and my letter 
of this date to Mr. Eppes will inform you that he is well 
under way. If we can keep him out of love, he will be able 
to go straight forward and to make good progress. I re- 
ceive with real pleasure your congratulations on my ad- 
vancement to the venerable corps of grandfathers, and can 
assure you with truth that I expect from it more felicity 
than any other advancement ever gave me. I only wish for 
the hour when I may go and enjoy it entire. It was my in- 
tention to have troubled you with Maria when I left Vir- 
ginia in November, satisfied it would be better for her to 
be with you ; but the solitude of her sister, and the desire 
of keeping them united in that affection for each other 
winch is to be the best future food of their lives, induced 
me to leave her at Monticello. 

To Martha Jefferson Eandolph. 

Lake Champlain, Hay 31st, 1791. 

My dear Martha I wrote to Maria yesterday while sail- 
ing on Lake George, and the same kind of leisure is afforded 
me to-day to write to you. Lake George is, without com- 
parison, the most beautiful water I ever saw ; formed by a 
contour of mountains into a basin thirty-five miles long, and 
from two to four miles broad, finely interspersed with isl- 
ands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides cov- 
ered with rich groves of thuja, silver fir, white pine, aspen, 
and paper birch down to the water-edge; here and there 
precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from mo- 
notony. An abundance of speckled trout, salmon trout, 
bass, and other fish, with which it is stored, have added, 
to our other amusements, the sport of taking them. Lake 
Champlain, though much larger, is a far less pleasant water. 
It is muddy, turbulent, and yields little game. After pene- 
trating into it about twenty-five miles, we have been obliged, 
by a head wind and high sea, to return, having spent a day 
and a half in sailing on it. TVe shall take our route again 
through Lake George, pass through Vermont, down Connect!- 


cut River, and through Long Island to New York and Phila- 
delphia. Our journey has hitherto been prosperous and 
pleasant, except as to the weather, which has been as sultry 
and hot through the whole as could he found in Carolina or 
Georgia. I suspect, indeed, that the heats of Northern cli- 
mates may be more powerful than those of Southern ones in 
proportion as they are shorter. Perhaps vegetation requires 
this. There is as much fever and ague, too, and other bilious 
complaints on Lake Champlain as on the swamps of Caro- 
lina. Strawberries here are in the blossom, or just formed. 
With you, I suppose, the season is over. On the whole, I 
find nothing anywhere else, in point of climate, which Vir- 
ginia need envy to any part of the world. Here they are 
locked up in ice and snow for six months. Spring and au- 
tumn, which make a paradise of our country, are rigorous 
winter with them ; and a tropical summer breaks on them 
all at once. When we consider how much climate contrib- 
utes to the happiness of our condition, by the fine sensations 
it excites, and the productions it is the parent of, we have 
reason to value highly the accident of birth in such a one as 
that of Virginia. 

From this distance I can have little domestic to write to 
you about. I must always repeat how much I love you. 
Kiss the little Anne for me. I hope she grows lustily, enjoys 
good health, and will make us all, and long, happy as the 
centre of our common love. Adieu, my dear. 
Yours affectionately, 


The allusion in the following letter to the Duke of Dorset, 
and to his niece, the charming Lady Caroline Tufton, de- 
serves a word of explanation. The Duke was British Minis- 
ter hi France during Mr. Jeflerson's stay there. The two 
became acquainted and warm personal friends, and an inti- 
mate friendship sprang up between Martha Jefferson and 
Lady Caroline. On her return to America, Martha requested 
her father to call one of his farms by her friend's name, 

* This letter, as a matter of cariosity probably, was written in a book of 
the bark of the paper birch, having leaves seven inches long by four wide. 
(Note from. Randall's Jefferson.) 


which he did, and a fine farm lying at the foot of Monticello 
bears at this day the name of Tufton. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. [Extract.] 

Philadelphia, June 23d, 1791. 

I wrote to each of you once during my journey, from 
which I returned four days ago, having enjoyed through the 
whole of it very perfect health. I am in hopes the relaxation 
it gave me from business has freed me from the almost con- 
stant headache with which I had been persecuted during the 
whole winter 'and spring. Having been entirely clear of it 
while travelling, proves it to have been occasioned by the 
drudgery of business. I found here, on my return, your letter 
of May 23d, with the pleasing information that you were all 
in good health. I wish I could say when I shall be able to 
join you; but that will depend on the motions of the Presi- 
dent, who is not yet returned to this place. 

In a letter written to me by young Mr. Franklin, who is 
in London, is the following paragraph : " I meet here with 
many who ask kindly after you. Among these the Duke 
of Dorset, who is very particular in his inquiries. He has 
mentioned to me that his niece has wrote once or twice to 
your daughter since her return to America ; but not receiv- 
ing an answer, had supposed she meant to drop her ac- 
quaintance, which his niece much regretted, I ventured to 
assure him that was not likely, and that possibly the letters 
might have miscarried. You will take what notice of this 
you may think proper." Fulwar Skipwith is on his return 
to the United States. Mrs. Trist and Mrs. Waters often ask 
after yon. Mr. Lewis being very averse to writing, I must 
trouble Mr. Randolph to inquire of him relative to my tobac- 
co, and to inform me about it. I sold the whole of what was 
good here. Seventeen hogsheads only are yet come; and 
by a letter of May 29, from Mr. Hylton, there were then but 
two hogsheads more arrived at the warehouse. I am uneasy 
at the delay, because it not only embarrasses me with guess- 
ing at excuses to the purchaser, but is likely to make me fail 
in my payments to Hanson, which ought to be made in Rich- 
mond on the 19th of next month. I wish much to know 
when the rest may be expected 

In your last you observed you had not received a letter 


from me in five weeks. My letters to you have been of Jan. 
20, Feb. 9, March 2, 24, April 17, May 8, which you will ob- 
serve to be pretty regularly once in three weeks. Matters 
in France are still going on safely. Mirabeau is dead ; also 
the Duke de Richelieu ; so that the Duke de Fronsac has 
now succeeded to the head of the family, though not to the 
title, these being all abolished. Present me affectionately to 
Mr. Randolph and Polly, and kiss the little one for me. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, June 26th, 1791. 

My dear Maria I hope you have received the letter I 
wrote you from Lake George, and that you have well fixed 
in your own mind the geography of that lake, and of the 
whole of my tour, so as to be able to give me a good ac- 
count of it when I shall see you. On my return here I 
found your letter of May 29th, giving me the information it 
is always so pleasing to me to receive that you are all well. 
Would ,to God I could be with you to partake of your felici- 
ties, and to tell you in person how much I love you all, and 
how necessary it is to my happiness to be with you. In my 
letter to your sister, written to her two or three days ago, I 
expressed my uneasiness at hearing nothing more of my to- 
bacco, and asked some inquiries to be made of Mr. Lewis on 
the subject. But I received yesterday a letter from Mr. 
Lewis with full explanations, and another from Mr. Hylton, 
informing me the tobacco was on its way to this place. 
Therefore desire your sister to suppress that part of my let- 
ter and say nothing about it. Tell her from me how much 
I love her. Kiss her and the little one for me, and present 
my best affections to Mr. Randolph, assured of them also 
yourself, from yours, 

TH. J. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, July 31st, 1791. 

The last letter I have from you, my dear Maria, was of the 
29th of May, which is nine weeks ago. Those which you 
ought to have written the 19th of June and 10th of July 
would have reached me before this if they had been written. 
I mentioned in my letter of the last week to your sister that 


I had sent off some stores to Richmond, which I should be 
glad to have carried to Monticello in the course of the ensu- 
ing month of August. They are addressed to the care of 
Mr. Brown. You mentioned formerly that the two com- 
modes were arrived at Monticello. Were my two sets of 
ivory chessmen in the drawers ? They have not been found 
in any of the packages which came here, and Petit seems 
quite sure they were packed up. How goes on the music, 
both with your sister and yourself? Adieu, my dear Maria. 
Kiss and bless all the family for me. 

Yours affectionately, 


From Mary Jefferson. 

Monticello, July 10th, 1701. 

My dear Papa I have received both your letters, that 
from Lake George and of June the 26th. I am very much 
obliged to you for them, and think the bark that you wrote 
on prettier than paper. Mrs. Monroe and Aunt Boiling are 
here. My aunt would have written to you, but she was un- 
well. She intends to go to the North Garden. Mr. Monroe 
is gone to Williamsburg to stay two or three weeks, and has 
left his lady here. She is a charming woman. My sweet 
Anne grows prettier every day. I thank you for the pic- 
tures and nankeen that you sent me, which I think very 
pretty. Adieu, dear papa. 

I am your affectionate daughter, 


To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia^ August 21st, 1791. 

My dear Maria Your letter of July 10th is the last news 
I have from Monticello. The time of my setting out for that 
place is now fixed to some time in the first week of Septem- 
ber, so that I hope to be there between the 10th and 15th.- 
My horse is still in such a condition as to give little hope of 
his living : so that I expect to be under the necessity of buy- 
ing one when I come to Virginia, as I informed Mr. Ran- 
dolph in my last letter to him. I am in hopes, therefore, he 
will have fixed his eye on some one for me, if I should be 
obliged to buy. In the mean time, as Mr. Madison comes 


with me, he has a horse which will help us on to Virginia. 
Kiss little Anne for me, and tell her to be putting on her 
best looks. My best affections to Mr. Kandolph, your sister, 

and yourself. Adieu, my dear Maria, 


In a letter written to Mrs. Randolph in July he announced 
the arrival of his French steward, Petit,* who he said accost- 
ed him w with the assurance that he had come pour rester 
toujours avec moi," he goes on, as follows : 

The principal small news he brings is that Panthemont is 
one of the convents to be kept up for education ; that the old 
Abbess is living, but Madame de Taubenheim dead ; that 
some of the nuns have chosen to rejoin the world, others to 
stay ; that there are no English prisoners there now ; Boti- 
dorer remains there, etc., etc. Mr, Short lives in the H6tel 
d'Orleans, where I lived when you first went to Panthemont. 

The following extract from a letter of Jefferson to Wash- 
ington, written early in the spring of this year (1791), shows 
the warmth of his affection for him, and betrays a touching 
anxiety -for his welfare : 

I shall be happy to hear that no accident has happened to 
you in the bad roads you have passed, and that you are bet- 
ter prepared for those to come by lowering the hang of your 
carriage, and exchanging the coachman for two postilions, 
circumstances which I confess to you appeared to me essen- 
tial for your safety ; for which no one on earth more sincere- 
ly prays, both from public and private regard, than he who 
has the honor to be, with sentiments of the most profound 
respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 

Mr. Jefferson left Philadelphia for Virginia on the 2d of 
September, and arrived at Monticello on the 12th. He re- 

* This servant had made himself invaluable to Mr. Jefferson ; and in a pre- 
vious letter he wrote to Mrs. Randolph, " I have heen made happy fcy Petif s 
determination to come to me* I did not look ont for another, because I still 
hoped he would come. In fact, he retired to Champaigne to live with his 
mother, and after a short time wrote to Mr. Short ' qu'il mourait d'ennui,' and 
was wffliDg to come." 


mained there just one month, leaving for the seat of govern- 
ment on the 12th of October. His regrets at leaving home 
were on this occasion lessened by the pleasure of being ac- 
companied on his return to Philadelphia by his beautiful 
young daughter, Maria. His establishment in Philadelphia 
was one suitable to his rank and position. He kept five 
horses, and besides his French steward, Petit, who presided 
over the menage of his house, he had four or five hired male 
servants and his daughter's maid. 

In a letter to Mr. Randolph written on the 25th of Octo- 
ber, he writes thus of his journey : 

The first part of our journey was pleasant, except some 
hair-breadth escapes which our new horse occasioned us in 
going down hills the first day or two, after which he be- 
haved better, and came through the journey preserving the 
fierceness of his spirit to the last. I believe he will make 
me a valuable horse. Mrs. Washington took possession of 
Maria at Mount Vernon, and only restored her to me here 
(Philadelphia). It was fortunate enough, as we had to travel 
through five days of north-east storm, having learned at 
Mount Vernon that Congress was to meet on the 24th in- 
stead of the 31st, as I had thought. We got here only on 
the 22d. The sales at Georgetown were few, but good. 
They averaged $2400 the acre. Maria is immersed in new 
acquaintances; but particularly happy with Xelly Custis, 
and particularly attended to by Mrs. Washington. She will 
be with Mrs. Pine a few days hence. 

In a later letter to Mrs. Randolph, he says : 

Maria is fixed at Mrs. Pine's, and perfectly at home. She 
has made young friends enough to keep herself in a bustle, 
and has been honored with the visits of Mrs. Adams, Mrs. 
Randolph, Mrs. Rittenhouse, etc., etc. 

Towards the close of this year Jefferson began to keep his 
"Ana," or notes on the passing transactions of the day. 

The tale of his life will be found pleasantly carried on in 
the following letters to his daughter: 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, January 15th, 1792. 

My dear Martha Having no particular subject for a let- 
ter, I find none more soothing to my mind than to indulge 
itself in expressions of the love I bear you, and the delight 
with which I recall the various scenes through which we have 
passed together in our wanderings over the world. These 
reveries alleviate the toils and inquietudes of my present 
situation, and leave me always impressed with the desire of 
being at home once more, and of exchanging labor, envy, and 
malice for ease, domestic occupation, and domestic love and 
society ; where I may once more be happy with you, with Mr. 
Randolplj, and dear little Anne, with whom even Socrates 
might ride on a stick without being ridiculous. Indeed it 
is with difficulty that my resolution will bear me through 
what yet lies between the present day and that which, on 
mature consideration of all circumstances respecting myself 
and others, my mind has determined to be the proper one for 
relinquishing my office. Though not very distant, it is not 
near enough for my wishes. The ardor of these, however, 
would be abated if I thought that, on coming home, I should 
be left alone. On the contrary, I hope that Mr. Randolph 
will find a convenience in making only leisurely preparations 
for a settlement, and that I, shall be able to make you both 
happier than you have been at Monticello, and relieve you of 
d&agrSmens to which I have been sensible you were ex- 
posed, without the power in myself to prevent it, but by 
my own presence. Remember me affectionately to Mr. Ran- 
dolph, and be assured of the tender love of, yours, 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, February 26th, 1792. 

My dear Martha We are in daily expectation of hearing 
of your safe return to Monticello, and all in good health. 
The season is now coming on when I shall envy you your 
occupations in the fields and garden, while I am shut up 
drudging within four walls. Maria is well and lazy, there- 
fore does not write. Your friends, Mrs. Trist and Mrs. Wa- 
ters are well also, and often inquire after you. We have 


nothing new and interesting from Europe for Mr. Randolph. 
He will perceive by the papers that the English are beaten 
off the gronnd by Tippoo Saib. The Leyden Gazette assures 
that they were only saved by the unexpected arrival of the 
Mahrattas, who were suing to Tippoo Saib for peace for Lord 
Oornwallis. My best esteem to Mr. Randolph, and am, my 

dear Martha, yours affectionately, 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

PhUadelphia, March 22d, 1792. 

My dear Martha Tours of February 20th came to me with 
that welcome which every thing brings from you. It is a re- 
lief to be withdrawn from the torment of the scenes amidst 
which we are. Spectators of the heats and tumults of con- 
flicting parties, we can not help participating of their feel- 
ings. I should envy you the tranquil occupations of your 
situation, were it not that I value your happiness more than 
my own, but I too shall have my turn. The ensuing year 
will be the longest of my life, and the last of such hateful 
labors ; the next we will sow our cabbages together. Maria 
is welt Having changed my day of writing from Sunday 
to Thursday or Friday, she will oftener miss writing, as not 
being with me at the time. I believe you knew Otchakitz, 
the Indian who lived with the Marquis de Lafayette. He 
came here lately with some deputies from his nation, and 
died here of a pleurisy. I was at his funeral yesterday,; he 
was buried standing up, according to their manner. I think 
it will still be a month before your neighbor, Mrs. Monroe, 
will leave us. She will probably do it with more pleasure 
than heretofore, as I think she begins to tire of the town and 
feel a relish for scenes of more tranquillity. Kiss dear Anne 
for her aunt, and twice for her grandpapa. Give my best affec- 
tions to Mr. Randolph, and accept yourself all my tenderness. 


In the following extract from a letter to General Wash- 
ington, written on the 23d of May (179 2), Jefferson makes an 
eloquent appeal to him to remain for another term at the 
head of the Government. After speaking of the evil of a 
dissolution of the Union, he goes on to say : 



To George Washington. 

Yet, when we consider the mass which opposed the origi- 
nal coalescence ; when we consider that it lay chiefly in the 
Southern quarter ; that the Legislature have availed them- 
selves of no occasion of allaying it, but, on the contrary, when- 
ever Northern and Southern prejudices have come into con- 
flict, the latter have been sacrificed and the former soothed; 
that the owners of the debt are in the Southern, and the 

holders of it in the Northern division; who can be 

sure that these things may not proselyte the small number 
that was wanting to place the majority on the other side ? 
And this is the event at which I tremble, and to prevent 
which I consider your continuing at the head of affairs as of 
the last importance. The confidence of the whole Union 
is centred in you. Your being at the helm will be more 
than an answer to every argument which can be used to 
alarm and lead the people in any quarter into violence and 
secession. STorth and South will hang together if they have 
you to hang on ; and if the first correction of a numerous 
representation should fail in its effect, your presence will give 
time for trying others not inconsistent with the union and 
peace of the State. 

I am perfectly aware of the oppression under which your 
present office lays your mind, and of the ardor with which 
you pant for domestic life. But there is sometimes an emi- 
nence of character on which society have such peculiar 
claims as to control the predilections of the individual for a 
particular walk of happiness, and restrain him to that alone 
arising from the present and future benedictions of mankind. 
This seems to be your condition, and the law imposed on 
you by Providence in forming your character, and fashioning 
the events on which it was to operate ; and it is to motives 
. like these, and not to personal anxieties of mine or others, 
who have no right to call on you for sacrifices, that I appeal, 
and urge a revisal of it, on the ground of change in the as- 
pect of things. One or two sessions will determine 

the crisis, and I can not but hope that you can resolve to 
add more to the many years you have already sacrificed to 
the good of mankind. 


The fear of suspicion that any selfish motive of continu- 
ance in office may enter into this solicitation on my part, 
obliges me to declare that no such motive exists. It is a 
thing of mere indifference to the public whether I retain or 
relinquish my purpose of closing my tour with the first pe- 
riodical renovation of the Government. I know my own 
measure too well to suppose that my services contribute any 
thing to the public confidence or the public utility. Multi- 
tudes can fill the office in which you have been pleased to 
place me, as much to their advantage and satisfaction. I 
have, therefore, no motive to consult but my own inclina- 
tion, which is bent irresistibly on the tranquil enjoyment 
of my family, my farm, and my books. I should repose 
among them, it is true, in far greater security if I were to 
know that you remained at the watch ; and I hope it will 
be so. ' 

The following extract is taken from an affectionate letter 
written by Jefferson to Lafayette on the 16th of June, in 
which he congratulates him on his promotion to the com- 
mand of the French armies : 

Behold you, then, my dear friend, at the head of a great 
army establishing the liberties of your country against a for- 
eign enemy. May Heaven favor your cause, and make you 
the channel through which it may pour its favors. While 
you are extirpating the monster aristocracy, and pulling out 
the teeth and fangs of its associate monarchy, a contrary 
tendency is discovered in some here. A sect has shown it- 
self among us, who declare they espoused our new Constitu- 
tion not as a good and sufficient thing in itself, but only as a 
sfep to an English Constitution, the only thing good and suf- 
ficient in itself, in their eye. It is happy for us that these 
are preachers without followers, and that our people are firm 
and constant in their republican purity. You will wonder 
to be told that it is from the eastward chiefly that these 
champions for a King, Lords, and Commons come. 

On the 22d of the same month he writes from Philadel- 
phia to Mrs. Randolph as follows : 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

My dear Martha Tours of May 27th came to hand on 
the very day of my last to you, but after it was gone off 
That of June llth was received yesterday. Both made us 
happy in informing us you were all well. The rebuke to 
Maria produced the inclosed letter. The time of my de- 
parture for Monticello is not yet known. I shall, within a 
week from this time, send off my stores as usual, that they 
may arrive before me. So that, should any wagons be go- 
ing down from the neighborhood, it would be well to desire 
them to call on Mr. Brown in order to take up the stores 
should they be arrived. I suspect, by the account you give 
me of your garden, that you mean a surprise, as good sing- 
ers always preface their performances by complaints of cold, 
hoarseness, etc. Maria is still with me. I am endeavoring 
to find a good lady to put her with, if possible. If not, I 
shall send her to Mrs. Brodeaux, as the last shift. Old Mrs, 
HopMnson is living in town, but does not keep house. I am 
in hopes you have visited young Mrs. Lewis, and borne with 
the old one, so as to keep on visiting terms. Sacrifices and 
suppression of feeling in this way cost much less pain than 
open separation. The former are soon over; the latter 
haunt the peace of every day of one's life, be that ever so 
long. Adieu, my dear, with my best affections to Mr. Ean- 
dolph. Anne enjoys them without valuing them. 




Anonymous Attacks on Jefferson. Washington's Letter to him. His Ee- 
ply, Letter to Edmund Randolph. Returns to Philadelphia. Washing- 
ton urges him to remain in his Cabinet Letters to his Daughter. To 
his Son-in-law. To hi? Brother-in-law. Sends his Resignation to the 
President. Fever in Philadelphia. Weariness of Puhlic Life. Letters 
to his" Daughters. To Mrs. Church. To his Daughter, Visits Monticel- 
lo. Returns to Philadelphia. Letter to Madison. To Mrs. Church. 
To his Daughters. Interview with Genet Letter to Washington. His 
Iteply. Jefferson returns to Monticello. State of his Affairs, and Extent 
of his Possessions. Letter to Washington. To Mr. Adams. Washing- 
ton attempts to get Jefferson back in his Cabinet. Letter to Edmund 
Randolph, declining. Pleasures of his life at Monticello. Letter to 
Madison. To Giles. To Rutledge. To young Lafayette. 

IN a letter which Jefferson wrote to Edmund Randolph 
(September 17th, 1792) while on a visit to Monticello, he 
thus alludes to an anonymous newspaper attack on himself: 

To Edmund Randolph. 

Every fact alleged under the signature of "An American" 
as to myself is false, and can be proved so, and perhaps will 
be one day. But for the present lying and scribbling must 
be free to those mean enough to deal in them, and in the 
dark I should have been setting out for Philadelphia with- 
in a day or two ; but the addition of a grandson and indis- 
position of my daughter will probably detain me here a 
week longer. 

The grandson whose birth is announced in this letter re- 
ceived the name of his distinguished grandsire, and grew up 
to bear in after life the relations and fulfill the duties of a 
son to him. 

On his way back to Philadelphia, after a stay of some 
months at Monticello, Jefferson stopped at Mount Vernon, 
and was there earnestly entreated by the President to re- 


consider his determination to resign Ms office as Secretary 
of State. 

Washington having consented to be elected President for 
a second term, was more and more persistent in his efforts to 
retain Jefferson in his cabinet, and his wishes, added to the 
entreaties of his friends, shook his resolution to retire, and 
finally succeeded in making him agree to'remain in office at 
least for a short time longer. How reluctantly he yielded, 
and with what sacrifice of his 'own feelings and interests, the 
reader may judge from the following letter written by him 
to his daughter before his mind was finally made up on the 
subject : 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Phikdelphia, January 26th, 1793.' 

My dear Martha I received two days ago yours of the 
16th. You were never more mistaken than in supposing 
you were too long on the prattle, etc., of little Anne. I read 
it with quite as much pleasure as you write it. I sincerely 
wish I could hear of her perfect re-establishment. I have 
for some time past been under an agitation of mind which I 
scarcely ever experienced before, produced by a check on my 
purpose of returning home at the close of this session of Con- 
gress. My operations at Monticello had all been made to 
bear upon that point of time ; my mind was fixed on it with 
a fondness which was extreme, the purpose firmly declared 
to the President, when I became assailed from all quarters 
with a variety of objections. Among these it .was urged 
that my retiring just when I had been attacked in the public 
papers would injure me in the eyes of the public, who would 
suppose I either withdrew from investigation, or because I 
had not tone of mind sufficient to meet slander. The only 
reward I ever wished on my retirement was to carry with 
me nothing like a disapprobation of the public. % These rep- 
resentations have for some weeks past shaken a determina- 
tion which I have thought the whole world could not have 
shaken. I have not yet finally made up my mind on the 
subject, nor changed my declaration to the President. But 
having perfect reliance in the disinterested friendship of somk 
of those who have counselled and urged it strongly ; believ- 


ing they can see and judge tetter a question between the 
public and myself than I can, I feel a possibility that I may 
be detained here into the summer. A few days will decide. 
In the mean time I have permitted my house to be rented 
after the middle of March, have sold such of my furniture 
as : would not suit Monticello, and am packing up the rest 
and storing it ready to be shipped off to Richmond as soon 
as the season of good sea-weather comes on. A circum- 
stance which weighs on me next to the weightiest is the 
trouble which> I foresee, I shall be constrained to ask Mr. 
Randolph to undertake. Having taken from other pursuits 
a number of hands to execute several purposes which I had 
in view this year, I can not abandon those purposes and lose 
their labor altogether. I must, therefore, select the most im- 
portant and least troublesome of them, the execution of my 
canal, and (without embarrassing him with any details which 
Clarkson and George are equal to) get him to tell them al- 
ways what is to be done and how, and to attend to the lev- 
elling the bottom ; but on this I shall write him particularly 
if I defer my departure. I have not received the letter 
which Mr. Carr wrote me from Richmond, nor any other 
from him since I left Monticello. My best affections to him, 
Mr. Randolph, and your fireside, and am, with sincere love, 
my dear Martha, yours, 


To Thomas Mann Randolph. [l&tract.] 

Philadelphia, Feb. 3d, 1793- 

In my letter to my daughter, of the last week, I suggested 
to her that a possibility had arisen that I might not return 
home as early as I had determined. It happened unfortu- 
nately that the attack made on me in the newspapers came 
out soon after I began to speak freely and publicly of ray 
purpose to retire this spring, and, from the modes of publica- 
tion, the public were possessed of the former sooner than of 
the latter; and I find that as well those who are my friends 
as those who are not, putting the t^vo things together as 
cause and effect, conceived I was driven from my office either 
,*from want of firmness or perhaps fear of investigation. De- 
sirous that my retirement may be clouded by no imputations 
of this kind, I see not only a possibility, but rather a proba- 


bility, that I shall postpone it for some time. Whether for 
weeks or months, I can not now say. This must depend in 
some degree on the will of those who troubled the waters 
before. When they suffer them to be calm I will go into 
port. 3Iy inclinations never before suffered such violence, 
and my interests also are materially affected. 

The following extracts from letters to his daughter show 
the tenderness of his feelings for his young grandchildren: 

To Martha, Jefferson Randolph. 

The last letter received from Mr. Eandolph or yourself is 
of Oct. 7, which is near seven weeks ago. I ascribe this to 
your supposed absence from Monticello, but it makes me un- 
easy when I recollect the frail state of your two little ones. 
I hope some letter is on the way to me. I have no news for 
you except the marriage of your friend, Lady Elizabeth Tuf- 
ton, to some very rich person. 

I have this day received yours of the 18th November, and 
sincerely sympathize with you on the state of dear Anne, if 
that can be called sympathy which proceeds from affection 
at first-hand ; for my affections had fastened on her for her 
own sake, and not merely for yours. Still, however, experi- 
ence (and that in your own case) has taught me that an in- 
fant is never desperate. Let me beseech you not to destroy 
the powers of her stomach with medicine. Mature alone 
can re-establish infant organs; only taking care that her ef- 
forts be not thwarted by any imprudences of diet. I yejoice 
in the health of your other hope. 

The following will be found of interest: 

To Frauds Eppes. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 4th, 1793. 

Dear Sir The greatest council of Indians which has been 
or will be held in our day, is to be at the Kiver Glaise, about 
the southwest corner of Lake Erie, early in the spring. 
Three commissioners will be appointed to go there on our 
part Jack is desirous of accompanying them; and though 
I do not know who they will be, I presume I can get him un- 


der their wing He will never have another chance- 

for seeing so great a collection of Indian (probably 3000) 
nations from beyond the lakes and the Mississippi. It is 
really important that those who come into public life should 

know more of these people than we generally do I 

know no reason against his going, but that Mrs. Eppes will 
be thinking of his scalp. However, he may safely trust his 

where the commissioners will trust theirs 

Your affectionate friend and servant, 


The address to the following letter from Jefferson is lost: 

Phikdelphia, ^larch 18th, 17&J. 

Dear Sir I received your kind favor of the 26th ult, and 
thank you for its contents as sincerely as if I could engage 
in what they propose. When I first entered. on the stage of 
public life (now twenty-four years ago), I came to a resolu- 
tion never to engage, while in public office, in any kind of en- 
terprise for the improvement of my fortune, nor to wear any 
other character than that of a fanner. I have never depart- 
ed from it in a single instance ; and I have in multiplied in- 
stances found myself happy in being able to decide and to 
act as a public servant, clear of all interest, in the multiform 
questions that have arisen, wherein I have seen others em- 
barrassed and biased by having got themselves in a more 
interested situation. Thus I have thought myself richer in 
contentment than I should have been with any increase of 
fortune. Certainly, I should have been much wealthier had 
I remained in that private condition which renders it lawful, 
and even laudable, to use proper efforts to better it. How- 
ever, my public career is now closing, and I will go through 
on the principle on which I have hitherto acted. But I feel 
myself under obligations to repeat my thanks for this mark 
of your attention and friendship. 

After quoting this letter, Jefferson's biographer well says : 
"If Mr. Jefferson would have consented to adopt a different 
rale, the saddest page in his personal history would not be 
for us to write." 

On the last day of July, Jefferson, still longing for the 


quiet of home-life, wrote to the President, tenderh, - his res- 
ignation. After stating his reasons for so doing, K' says : 

To George Washington. 

At the close, therefore, of the ensuing month off .ptember, 
I shall beg leave to retire to scenes of greater tranquillity 
from those which I am every day more and more convinced 
that neither my talents, tone, of mind, nor time of life fit me. 
I have thought it my duty to mention the matter thus early, 
that there may be time for the arrival of a successor from 
any part of the Union from which you may think proper to 
call one. That you may find one more able to lighten the 
burthen of your labors, I most sincerely wish ; for no man 
living naore sincerely wishes that your administration could 
be rendered as pleasant to yourself as it is useful and neces- 
sary to our country, nor feels for you a more rational or cor- 
dial attachment and respect than, dear Sir, your most obedi- 
ent and most humble servant. 

Early in August the President -visited Jefferson at his 
house in the country, and urged that he would allow him to 
defer the acceptance of his resignation until the 1st of Janu- 
ary. This Jefferson finally, though reluctantly, agreed to 
do. The following extract from a letter written by him to 
Madison in June will show how irksome public life was to 

To James Madison. 

If the public, then, has no claim on me, and my friends 
nothing to justify, the decision will rest on my own feelings 
alone. There has been a time when these were very differ- 
ent from what they are now ; when, perhaps, the esteem of 
the world was of higher value in my eye than every thing 
in it. But age, experience, and reflection, preserving to that 
only its due value, have set a higher on tranquillity. The 
motion of my blood no longer keeps time with the tumult 
of the world. It leads me to seek for happiness in the lap 
and love 'of my family, in the society of my neighbors and 
my books, in the wholesome occupations of my farms and my 
affairs, in an interest or affection in every bud that opens, in 


every b th that blows around me, in an entire freedom of 
rest, of *. tion, of thought owing account to myself alone 
of my hot ,-s and actions. What must be the principle of 
that calculation which would balance against these the cir- 
cumstan j of my present existence worn down with labors 
from morning to night, and day to day ; knowing them as 
fruitless to others as they are vexatious to myself, committed 
singly in desperate and eternal contest against a host who' 
are systematically undermining the public liberty and pros- 
perity, even the rare hours of relaxation sacrificed to the so- 
ciety of persons in the same intentions, of whose hatred I am 
conscious, even in those moments of conviviality when the 
heart wishes most to open itself to the effusions of friendship 
and confidence ; cut off from my family and friends, my affairs 
abandoned to chaos and derangement ; in short, giving every 
thing I love in exchange for every thing I hate, and all this 
without a single gratification in possession or prospect, in 
present enjoyment or future wish. Indeed, my dear friend, 
duty being out of the question, inclination cuts off all argu- 
ment, and so never let there be more between you and me 
on this subject. 

To Mr. Morris he wrote, on September the llth : 

An infectious and mortal fever is broke out in this place. 
The deaths under it, the week before last, were about forty ; 
the last week about fifty ; this week they will probably be 
about two hundred, and it is increasing. Every one .is get- 
ting out of the city who can. Colonel Hamilton is ill of the 
fever, but is on the recovery. The President, according to 
an arrangement of some time ago, set out for Mount Vernon 
on yesterday. The Secretary of War is setting out on a 
visit to Massachusetts. I shall go in a few days to Virginia. 
When we shall reassemble again may, perhaps, depend on the 
course of this malady, and on that may depend the date of 
my next letter. 

I shall now carry the -reader back to the beginning of this 
year (1V93), and give extracts from Jefferson's letters to his 
daughter, Mrs. Randolph, giving them in their chronological 
order : 


To Martha Jeferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, January 14tk, 1793. 

Though his letter informed me of the re-establishment of 
^nne, yet I wish to learn that time confirms our hopes. We 
were entertained here lately with the ascent of Mr. Blanchard 
in a balloon. The security of the thing appeared so great, 
that every body is wishing for a balloon to travel in. I wish 
for one sincerely, as, instead of ten days, I should be within 
five hours of home. 

Philadelphia, Fehruary 24th, 1793. 

Kiss dear Anne, and ask her if she remembers me and 
will write to me. Health to the little one, and happiness to 
you alL 

Philadelphia, March 10th, 1793. 

When I shall see you I can not say ; but my heart and 
thoughts are all with you till I do. I have given up my 
house here, and taken a small one in the country, on the 
banks of the Schuylkill, to serve me while I stay. We are 
packing all our superfluous furniture, and shall be sending it 
by water to Richmond when the season becomes favorable. 
My books, too, except a very few, will be packed and go 
with the other things ; so that I shall put it out of my own 
power to return to the city again to keep house, and it would 
be impossible to carry on business in the winter at a country 
residence. Though this points out an ultimate term of stay 
here, yet my mind is looking to a much shorter one, if the 
circumstances will permit it which broke in on my first reso- 
lution. Indeed, I have it much at heart to be at home in 
time to ran up the part of the house, the latter part of the 
summer and fall, which I had proposed to do in the spring. - 

The following was written to an old friend : 

To Mrs. Church. 

Philadelphia, June 7th, 1793. 

Dear Madam Monsieur de Noailles has been so kind as to 
deliver me your letter. It fills up the measure of his titles 
to any service I can render him, It has served to recall to 


my mind remembrances which are very dear to it, and -which 
often furnish a delicious resort from the dry and oppressive 
scenes of business. Never was any mortal more tired of 
these than I am. I thought to have been clear of them some 
months ago, but shall be detained a little longer, and then I 
hope to get back to those scenes for which alone my heart 
was made. I had understood we were shortly to have the 
happiness of seeing you in America. It is now, I think, the 
only country of tranquillity, and should be the asylum of all 
those who wish to avoid the scenes which have crushed our 
Mends in Paris. What is become of Madame de Corny? I 
have never heard of her since I returned to America. Where 
is Mrs. Cosway? I have heard she was become a mother; 
but is the new object to absorb all her affections ? I think, if 
you do not return to America soon, you will be fixed in Eng- 
land by new family connections ; for I am sure my dear Kit- 
ty is too handsome and too good not to be sought, and sought 
till, for peace' sake, she must make somebody happy. Her 
friend Maria writes to her now, and I greet her with sincere 
attachment. Accept yourself assurances of the same from, 
dear Madam, your affectionate and humole servant, 


I continue his letters to his daughter, Mrs. Randolph. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, June 10th, 1793. 

I sincerely congratulate you on the arrival of the mock- 
ing-bird. Learn all the children to venerate it as a superior 
being in the form of a bird, or as a being which will haunt 
them if any harm is done to itself or its eggs. I shall hope 
that the multiplication of the cedar in the neighborhood, 
and of trees and shrubs round the house, will attract more 
of them ; for they like to be in the neighborhood of our hab- 
itations if they furnish cover. 

Philadelphia, July 7th, 1793. 

My head has been so full of farming since I have found 
it necessary to prepare a place for my manager, that I could 
not resist the addressing my last weekly letters to Mr. Ran- 
dolph and boring him with my plans. Maria writes to you 


to-day. She is getting into tolerable health, though not 
good. She passes two or three days in the week with me 
under the trees, for I never go into the house but at the 
hour of bed. I never before knew the full value of trees. 
My house is entirely embosomed in high plane-trees, with 
good grass below ; and under them, I breakfast, dine, write, 
read, and receive my company. What would I not give 
that the trees planted nearest round the house at Monticello 
were fall-grown. 

Philadelphia, July 21st, 1793. 

We had peaches and Indian corn the 12th inst. When do 
they begin with you this year? Can you lay up a good 
stock of seed-peas for the 'ensuing summer ? We will try 
this winter to cover our garden with a heavy coating of ma- 
nure. When earth is rich it bids defiance to droughts, yields 
in abundance, and of the best quality. I suspect that the in- 
sects which have harassed you have been encouraged by the 
feebleness of your plants ; and that has been produced by 
the lean state of the soil We will attack them another 
year with joint efforts. 

Philadelphia, Aug. 4th, 1793. 

I inclose you two of Petit's recipes. The orthography will 
amuse you, while the matter may be useful. The last of the 
two is really valuable, as the beans preserved in that man- 
ner are as firm, fresh, and green as when gathered. 

The orthography alluded to in this letter was that of 
the word pancakes the French cook spelling it thus: 

On August 18th, Jefferson writes to Mrs. Randolph : 

Maria and I are scoring off the weeks which separate us 
from you. They wear off slowly ; but time is sure, though 

slow My blessings to your little ones ; love to you 

all, and friendly howd'ye's to my neighbors. Adieu. 

Jefferson visited Monticello in the autumn, and left his 
daughter Maria there on his return to Philadelphia, or rather 
to Germantown, from which place the' following letter was 


written. The address of this is lost, but it was probably 
written to Madison. I give only extracts : 

Germantown, November 2d, 1793. 

I overtook the President at Baltimore, and we arrived 
here yesterday, myself fleeced of seventy odd dollars to get 
from Fredericksburg here, the stages running no further 
than Baltimore. I mention this to put yourself and Monroe 
on your guard. The fever in Philadelpha has so much 
abated as to have almost disappeared. The inhabitants are 
about returning. It has been determined that the President 
shall not interfere with the meeting of Congress Ac- 
cording to present appearances, this place can not lodge a 
single person more. As a great favor, I have got a bed in 
the corner of the public room of a tavern ; and must con- 
tinue till some of the Philadelphians make a vacancy by re- 
moving into the city. Then we must give him from four to 
six or eight dollars a week for cuddies without a bed, and 
sometimes without a chair or table. There is not a single 
lodging-house in the place. Ross and Willing are alive. 
Hancock is dead. 

To James Madison. 

Germantown, November 17th, 1793. 

Dear Sir I have got good lodgings for Monroe and your- 
selfthat is to say, a good room with a fire-place and two 
beds, in a pleasant and convenient position, with a quiet fam- 
ily. They will breakfast you, but you must megs in a tav- 
ern ; there is a good one across the street. This is the way 
in which all must do, and all, I think, will not be able to get 
even half beds. The President will remain here, I believe, 
till the meeting of Congress, merely to form a point of union 
for them before they can have acquired information and 
courage. For at present there does not exist a single sub- 
ject in the disorder, no new infection having taken place 
since the great rains of the 1st of the month, and those be- 
fore infected being dead or recovered Accept, both 

of you, my sincere affection. 

Though bearing a later date than some which follow, we 
give the following letter here : 


To Mrs. Church. 

Germantown, Nov. 27th, 1793. 

I have received, my very good friend, your kind letter 
of August 19th, with the extract from that of Lafayette, for 
whom my heart has been constantly bleeding. The influ- 
ence of the United States has been put into action, as far as 
it could be either with decency or effect. But I fear that 
distance and difference of principle give little hold to Gen- 
eral Washington on the jailers of Lafayette. However, his 
friends may be assured that our zeal has not been inactive. 
Tour letter gives me the first information that our dear 
friend Madame de Corny has been, as to her fortune, among 
the victims of the times. Sad times, indeed ! and much-la- 
mented victim ! I know no country where the remains of a 
fortune could place her so much at her ease as this, and 
where public esteem is so attached to worth, regardless of 
wealth ; but our manners, and the state of our society here, 
are so different from those to which her habits have been 
formed, that she would lose more, perhaps, in that scale. 
And Madam Cosway in a convent ! I knew that to much 
goodness of heart she joined enthusiasm and religion ; but I 
thought that very enthusiasm would have prevented her from 
shutting up her adoration of the GodT of the universe within 
the walls of a cloister ; that she would rather have sought 
the mountawirtop. How happy should I be that it were mine 
that you, she, and Madame de Corny would seek You say, 
indeed, that you are coming to America, but I know that 
means New York. In the mean time, I am going to Vir- 
ginia. I have at length been able to fix that to the beginning 
of the new year. I am then to be liberated from the hated 
occupations of politics, and to remain in the bosom of my 
family, my farm, and my books. I have my house to build, 
my fields to farm, and to watch for the happiness of those 
who labor for mine. I have one daughter married to a man 
of science, sense, virtue, and competence ; in whom indeed I 
have nothing more to wish. They live with me. If the oth- 
er shall be as fortunate, in due process of time I shall imag- 
ine myself as blessed as the most blessed of the patriarchs. 
Nothing could then withdraw my thoughts a moment from 
home but a recollection of my friends abroad. I often put 


the question, whether yourself and Kitty will ever come to 
see your friends at Monticello ? but it is my affection, and 
not my experience of things, which has leave to answer, and 
I am determined to believe the answer, because in that be- 
lief I find I sleep sounder, and wake more cheerfuL Mi at- 
tendant, God bless you. 

Accept the homage of my sincere and constant affection, 


The following letters and extracts will be found interest- 
ing by the reader : 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Germantown, Nov. 17th, 1793. 

* No letter yet frdm my dear Maria, who is so fond of writ- 
ing, so punctual in her correspondence. I enjoin as a penal- 
ty that the next be written in French. I have not 

yet been in [to Philadelphia], not because there is a shadow 
of danger, but because I am afoot. Thomas is returned into 
my service. His wife and child went into town the day we 
left them. They then had the infection of the yellow fever, 
were taken two or three days after, and both died. Had we 
staid those two or three days longer, they would have been 
taken at our house. Mrs. Fullarton left Philadelphia. Mr. 
and Mrs. Rittenhouse remained here, but have escaped the 
fever. Follow closely your music, reading, sewing, house- 
keeping, and love me, as I do you, most affectionately. 


P,S. Tell Mr. Randolph that Gen. Wayne has had a con- 
voy of twenty-two wagons of provisions and seventy men 
cut off in his rear by the Indians. 

To Mary Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, Dec. 15th, 1793. 

My dear Maria I should have written to you last Sunday 
in turn, but business required my allotting your turn to Mr. 
Randolph, and putting off writing to you till this day. I 
have now received your and your sister's letters of Novem- 
ber 27 and 28. I agree that Watson shall make the writing- 
desk for you. I called the other day on Mrs. Fullarton, and 



there saw your friend Sally Cropper. She went up to Tren- 
ton the morning after she left us, and staid there till lately. 
The maid-servant who waited on her and you at our house 
caught the fever, on her return to town, and died. In my let- 
ter of last week, I desired Mr. Randolph to send horses for 
me, to he at Fredericksburg on the 12th of January. Lest 
that letter should miscarry, I repeat it here, and wish you to 
mention it to him. I also informed him. that a person of the 
name of Eli Alexander would set out this day from Elktown 
to take charge of the plantations under Byrd Rogers, and 
praying him to have his accommodations at the place got 
ready as far as should be necessary before my arrival. I 
hope to be with you all by the 15th of January, no more to 
leave you. My blessings to your dear sister and little ones; 
affections to Mr. Randolph and your friends with you. 

Adieu, my dear. Tours tenderly, 


To Martha Jeferson Randolph. [ 

PhUadelpliia, Dec. 22d, 1793. 

In my letter of this day fortnight to Mr. Randolph, and 
that of this day week to Maria, I mentioned my wish that 
my horses might meet me at Fredericksburg on the 12th of 
January. I now repeat it, lest those letters should miscarry. 
The President made yesterday what I hope will be the last 
set at me to continue ; but in this I am now immovable by 
any considerations whatever. My books and remains of fur- 
niture embark to-morrow for Richmond ....... I hope that 

by the next post I shall be able to send Mr. Randolph a 
printed copy of our correspondence with Mr. Genet and Mr. 
Hammond, as communicated to Congress. Our affairs with 
England and Spain have a turbid appearance. The letting 
loose the Algerines on us, which has been contrived by Eng- 
land, has produced peculiar irritation. I think Congress will 
indemnify themselves by high duties on all articles of Brit- 
ish importation. If this should produce war, though not 
wished for, it seems not to be feared. 

The well-informed reader is familiar with the controversy 
alluded to in the preceding letter, between the United States 
Government and the French and English ministers, Messrs. 


Genet and Hammond. I -can not refrain from giving the 
following extract from Jefferson's report of an interview "be- 
tween Mr. Genet and himself: 

He (Genet) asked if they (Congress) were not the Sover- 
eign. I told him no, they were sovereign in making laws 
only; the Executive was sovereign in executing them; and 
the Judiciary in construing them when they related to their 
department. " But," said he, " at least Congress are bound to 
see that the treaties are observed !" I told him no ; there 
were very few cases, indeed, arising out of treaties, which 
they could take notice of; that the President is to see that 
treaties are observed. " If he decides against the treaty, to 
whom is a nation to appeal?" I told him the Constitution 
had made the President the last appeal. He made me a bow, 
and said that indeed he would not make me his compliments 
on such a Constitution, expressed the utmost astonishment 
at it, and seemed never before to have had such an idea. 

The following letter explains itself: 

To George Washington. 

Philadelphia, Decemher 31st, 1793. 

Dear Sir Having had the honor of communicating to 
you in my letter of the last of July my purpose of retiring 
from the office of Secretary of State at the end of the month 
of September, you were pleased, for particular reasons, to 
wish its postponement to the close of the year. That term 
being now arrived, and my propensities to retirement be- 
coming daily more and more irresistible, I now take the lib- 
erty of resigning the office into your hands. Be pleased to 
accept with it my sincere thanks for all the indulgences 
which you have been so' good as to exercise towards me in 
the discharge of its duties. Conscious that my need of them 
has been great, I have still ever found them greater,- without 
any other claim on my part than a firm pursuit of what has 
appeared to me to be right, and a thorough disdain of all 
means which were not as open and honorable as their object 
was pure. I carry into my retirement a lively sense of 
your goodness, and shall continue gratefully to remember it. 
With very sincere prayers for your life, health, and tranquil- 


lity, I pray you to accept the homage of the great and con- 
stant respect and attachment with which I have the honor to 
be, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, 


This called forth from Washington the following hand- 
some and affectionate letter : 

From George Washington. 

PhiladelpMa^ Jan. 1st, 1794. 

Dear Sir I yesterday received with sincere regret your 
resignation of the office of Secretary of State. Since it has 
been impossible to prevail upon you to forego any longer the 
indulgence of your desire for private life, the event, however 
anxious I am to avert it, must be submitted to. 

But I can not suffer you to leave your station without as- 
suring you that the opinion which I had formed of your in- 
tegrity and talents, and which dictated your original nomi- 
nation, has been confirmed by the fullest experience, and 
that both have been eminently displayed in the discharge of 
your duty. Let a conviction of my most earnest prayers 
for your happiness accompany you in your retirement ; and 
while I accept with the warmest thanks your solicitude for 
my welfare, I beg you to believe that I am, dear Sir, etc. 

Perhaps no man ever received a higher compliment for the 
able discharge of his official duties than that paid to Jeffer- 
son by his adversaries, who, in opposing his nomination as 
President, urged as an objection " that Nature had made 
him only for a Secretary of State." 

Jefferson set out on the 5th of January for his loved home, 
Monticello fondly imagining that he would never again 
leave the peaceful shelter of its roof to enter upon the tur- 
moils of public life, but in reality destined to have only a 
short respite from them in the far sweeter enjoyments of 
domestic life, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. 

His private affairs were in sad need of his constant pres- 
ence at home after such long absences in the public service. 
He now owned in his native State over ten thousand acres 
of land, which for ten long years had been subject to the bad 


cultivation, mismanagement, and ravages of hired overseers. 
Of these large landed estates, between five and six thousand 
acres, comprising the farms of Monticello, Montalto, Tufton, 
Shadwell, Lego, Pantops, Pouncey's, and Limestone, were in 
the county of Albemarle; while another fine and favorite es- 
tate, called Poplar Forest, lay in Bedford County, and con- 
tained over four thousand acres. Of his land in Alhemarle 
only twelve hundred acres were in cultivation, and in Bed- 
ford eight hundred the two together making two thousand 
acres of arable land. The number of slaves owned by Jef- 
ferson was one hundred and fifty-four a very small number 
in proportion to his landed estate. Some idea may be form- 
ed of the way things were managed on these farms, from the 
fact that out of the thirty-four horses on them eight were 
saddle-horses. The rest of the stock on them consisted of 
five mules, two hundred and forty-nine cattle, three hundred 
and ninety hogs, and three sheep. 

The few months' continuous stay at home which Jefferson 
had been able to make during the past ten years had not 
been sufficient for him to set things to rights. How greatly 
his farms needed a new system of management may be seen 
from the following letter to General Washington, written by 
him in the spring of 1794. He says : 

To George Washington. 

1 1 find, on a more minute examination of my lands than the 
short visits heretofore made to them permitted, that a ten 
years' abandonment of them to the ravages of overseers has 
brought on them a degree of degradation far beyond what I 
had expected- As this obliges me to adopt a milder course of 
cropping, so I find that they have enabled me to do it y by hav- 
ing opened a great deal of lands during my absence, I have 
therefore determined on a division of my farms into six fields, 
to be put under this rotation : First year, wheat ; second, 
corn, potatoes, peas ; third, rye or wheat, according to circum- 
stances ; fourth and fifth, clover, where the fields will bring 
it, and buckwheat-dressings where they will not ; sixth, fold- 
ing and buckwheat-dressing. But it will take me from three 


to six years to get this plan under way. I am not yet satis- 
fied that my acquisition of overseers from the head of Elk 
has J>een a happy one, or that much will be done this year 
towards rescuing my plantations from their wretched condi- 
tion. Time, patience, and perseverance must he the remedy; 
and the maxim of your letter, " slow and sure," is not less a 
good one in agriculture than in politics But I cher- 
ish tranquillity too much to suffer political things to enter 
my mind at all. I do not forget that I owe you a letter for 
Mr. Young ; but I am waiting to get full information. With 
every wish for your health and happiness, and my most 
friendly respects to Mrs. Washington, I have the honor to 
be, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 

Notwithstanding this disordered and disheartening state 
of his affairs (due to no fault of his), we still find him luxuri- 
ating in the quiet and repose of private life. On this subject 
he writes to Mr. Adams, on April 25th, as follows : 

To John Adams. 

Dear Sir I am to thank you for the work you were so 
Mad as to transmit me, as well as the letter covering it, and 
your felicitations on my present quiet. The difference of my 
present and past situation is such as to leave me nothing to 
regret but that my retirement has been postponed four years 
too long. The principles on which I calculated the value 
of life are entirely in favor of my present course. I return 
to farming with an ardor which I scarcely knew in my 
youth, and which has got the better entirely of my love of 
study. Instead of writing ten or twelve letters a day, which 
I have been in tbe habit of doing as a thing in course, I put 
off answering my letters now, farmer-like, till a rainy day, 
and then find them sometimes postponed by other necessary 
occupations With wishes of every degree of happi- 
ness to you, both public and private, and with my best re- 
spects to Mrs. Adams, I am your affectionate and humble 

The land not having been prepared for cultivation during 
the preceding fall, Jefferson's fanning operations during the 


summer of 1794 amounted to nothing. ' Unfortunately, when 
the next season came around for the proper preparation to 
be made for the coming year, it found him in such a state of 
health as to prevent his giving his personal direction to his 
farms, and thus he was cut off from any profit from them for 
another twelvemonth. Just about this time General Wash- 
ington made another attempt, through his Secretary of State, 
Edmund Randolph, to get Jefferson back into his cabinet. 
Though at the time ill, Jefferson at once sent the following 
reply to Randolph : 

To Edmund Randolph. 

Monticello, September 7th, 1794. 

Dear Sir Tour favor of August the 28th finds me in bed 
under a paroxysm of the rheumatism, which has now kept me 
for ten days in constant torment, and presents no hope of 
abatement. But the express and the nature of the case re- 
quiring immediate answer, I write you in this situation. 
No circumstances, my dear Sir, will ever more tempt me to 
engage in any thing public. I thought myself perfectly fixed 
in this determination when I left Philadelphia, but every day 
and hour since has added to its inflexibility. It is a great 
pleasure to rne to retain the esteem and approbation of the 
President, and this forms the only ground of any reluctance 
at being unable to comply with every wish of his. Pray 
convey these sentiments, and a thousand more to him, which 
my situation does not permit me to go into 

I find nothing worthy of notice in Jefferson's life during 
the year 1795. He continued tranquilly and happily enjoy- 
ing the society of his children and grandchildren in his beau- 
tiful mountain home. Mrs. Randolph was now the mother 
> of three children. We have seen from his letters to her how 
devotedly she was loved by her father. From the time of 
her mother's death she had been his constant companion un- 
til her own marriage ; Maria Jefferson, now seventeen years 
old, was as beautiful and loving as a girl as she had been 
as a child. The brilliancy of her beauty is spoken of with 
enthusiasm by those still living who remember her. 


In a letter to Mr. Madison written in the spring of this 
year (1795), Mr. Jefferson writes tlins of himself : 

To James Madison. 

If these general considerations were sufficient to ground a 
firm resolution never to permit myself to think of the office, 
or be thought of for it, the special ones which have super- 
vened on my retirement still more insuperably bar the door, 
to it. My health is entirely broken down within the last 
eight months ; my age requires that I should place my affairs 
in a clear state ; these are sound if taken care of, but capable 
of considerable dangers if longer neglected ; and above all 
things, the delights I feel in* the society of my family, and in 
the agricultural pursuits in which I am so eagerly engaged. 
The little spice of ambition which I had in my younger days 
has long since evaporated, and I set still less store by a post- 
humous than present name I long to see you 

May we hope for a visit from you ? If we may, let it be af- 
ter the middle of May, by which time I hope to be returned 
from Bedford. 

In writing on the same day to his friend, Mr. Giles, he says : 

I shall be rendered very happy by the visit you promise 
me. The only thing wanting to make me completely so is 
the more frequent society of my friends. It is the more 
wanting, as I am become more firmly fixed to the glebe. If 
you visit me as a farmer, it must be as a con-disciple ; for I 
am but a learner an eager one indeed, but yet desperate, 
being too old now to learn a new art. However, I am as 
much delighted and occupied with it as if I were the great- 
est adept. I shall talk with you about it from morning till 
night, and put you on very short allowance as to political 
aliment. Now and then a pious ejaculation for the French 
and Dutch republicans, returning with due dispatch to clo- 
ver, potatoes, wheat, etc. 

To Edward Rutledge he wrote, on November 30th, 1795 : 

I received your favor of October the 12th by your son, 
who has been kind enough to visit me here, and from whose 


visit I have received all that pleasure which I do from what- 
ever comes from you, and especially from a subject so deserv- 
edly dear to you. He found me in a retirement I doat on, 
living like an antediluvian patriarch among my children and 
grandchildren, and tilling my soiL As he had lately come 
from Philadelphia, Boston, etc., he was able to give me a 
great deal of information of what is passing in the world ; 
and I pestered him with questions, pretty much as our friends 
Lynch, Nelson, etc., will us when we step across the Styx, 
for they will wish to know what has been passing above 
ground since they left us. You hope I have not abandoned 
entirely the service of our country. After five-and-twenty 
years' continual employment in it, I trust it will be thought 
I have fulfilled my tour, like a punctual soldier, and may 
claim my discharge. But I am glad of the sentiment from 
you, my friend, because it gives a hope you will practice what 
you preach, and come forward in aid of the public vessel. I 
will not admit your old excuse, that you are in public serv- 
ice, though at home. The campaigns which are fought in 
a man's own house are not to be counted. The present situ- 
ation of the President, unable to get the offices filled, really 
calls with uncommon obligation on those whom nature has 
fitted for them. 

Early in the spring of 11T96, in a letter to his friend Giles, 
he gives us the following glimpse of his domestic opera- 
tions : 

We have had a fine winter. Wheat looks well. Corn is 
scarce and dear: twenty-two shillings here, thirty shillings 
in Amherst. Our blossoms are but just opening. I have 
begun the demolition of my house, and hope to get through 
its re-edification in the course of the summer. We shall 
have the eye of a brick-kiln to poke you into^ or an octagon 
to air you in. 

To another friend he wrote, a few weeks later : 

I begin to feel the effects of age. My health has suddenly 
broken down, with symptoms which give me to believe I 
shall not have much to encounter of the tedium vitce. 


The reader will read with interest the following kind and 
affectionate letter to young Lafayette son of the Marquis 
de Lafayette : 

To Lafayette, Junior. 

( Monticello, June 19th, 1796. 

Dear Sir The inquiries of Congress were the first inti- 
mation which reached my retirement of your being in this 
country ; and from M. Volney, now with me, I first learned 
where you are. I avail myself of the earliest moments of 
this information to express to you the satisfaction with 
which 1 1 learn that you are in a land of safety, where you 
will meet in every person the friend of your worthy father 
and family. Among these, I beg leave to mingle my own 
assurances of sincere attachment to him, and my desire to 
prove it by every service I can render you. I know, indeed, 
that you are already under too good a patronage to need 
any other, and that my distance and retirement render my 
affections unavailing to you. They exist, nevertheless, in 
all their warmth and purity towards your father and every 
one embraced by his love ; and no one has. wished with more 
anxiety to see him once more in the bosom of a nation who, 
knowing his works and his worth, desire to make him and 
his family forever their own. You were, perhaps, too young 
to remember me personally when in Paris. But I pray you 
to remember that, should any occasion offer wherein I can be 
useful to you, there is no one on whose friendship and zeal 
you may more confidently count. You will some day, per- 
haps, take a tour through these States. Should any thing in 
this part of them attract your curiosity, it would be a cir- 
cumstance of great gratification to me to receive you here, 
and to assure you in person of those sentiments of esteem 
and attachment, with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and 
humble servant, 




Description of Monticello and Jefferson by the Due de la Rochefoucauld-Li- 
ancourt. Nominated Vice-President Letter to Madison. To Adams. 
Preference for the Office of Vice-President. Sets out for Philadelphia. 
Reception there. Returns to Monticello. Letters to his Daughter. 
Goes to Philadelphia, Letter to Butledge. Family Letters. -To Miss 
Church. To Mrs. Church. 

I HAVE elsewhere given a charming picture of Monticello 
and its inmates in 1782, from the pen of an accomplished 
Frenchman the Marquis de Chastellux. A countryman of 
his equally as accomplished and distinguished, the Due de 
la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt has left us a similar one of a 
later date. This patriotic French nobleman, who had heen 
Lieutenant-general of France and President of the National 
Assembly, while in exile spent some days at Monticello, in 
the month of June, 1Y96 a month when the mountains of 
ALbemarle are clothed in all the brilliancy of their summer 
beauty. The lovely landscapes around Monticello were well 
calculated to charm the eye of a foreigner; and I give the 
Due's detailed but agreeable description of the place, its 
owner, and its surroundings. There are one or two trifling 
mistakes in it as regards geographical names; the rest is 
accurate : 

Monticello is situated three miles from Milton, in that 
chain of mountains which stretches from James River to the 
Rappahannock, twenty-eight miles in front of the Blue Ridge, 
and in a direction parallel to those mountains. This chain, 
which runs uninterrupted in its small extent, assumes suc- 
cessively the names of the West, South, and Green Mount- 

It is in the part known by the name of the South Mount- 
ains that Monticello is situated. The house stands on the 


summit of the mountain, and the taste and arts of Europe 
have been consulted in the formation of its plan. Mr. Jef- 
ferson had commenced its construction "before the American 
Revolution ; since that epocha his life has been constantly 
engaged in public affairs, and he has not been able to com- 
plete the execution of the whole extent of the project which 
it seems he had at first conceived. That part of the building 
which was finished has suffered from the suspension of the 
work, and Mr. Jefferson, who two years since resumed the 
habits and leisure of private life, is now employed in repairing 
the damage occasioned by this interruption, and still more 
by his absence ; he continues his original plan, and even 
improves on it by giving to his buildings more elevation 
and extent. He intends that they shall consist only of one 
story, crowned with balustrades ; and a dome is to be con- 
structed in the centre of the structure. The apartments will 
be large and convenient ; the decoration, both outside and 
inside, simple, yet regular and elegant. Monticello, accord- 
ing to its first plan, was infinitely superior to all other houses 
in America, in point of taste and convenience ; but at that 
time Mr. Jefferson had studied taste and the fine arts in 
books only. His travels in Europe have supplied him with 
models ; he has appropriated them to his design ; and his 
new plan, the execution of which is already much advanced, 
will be accomplished before the end of next year, and then 
his house will certainly deserve to be ranked with the most 
pleasant mansions in France and England. 

Mr. Jefferson's house commands one of the most extensive 
prospects you can meet with. On the east side, the front of 
the building, the eye is not checked by any object, since the 
mountain on which the house is seated commands all the 
neighboring heights as far as the Chesapeake. The Atlantic 
might be seen, were it not for the greatness of the distance, 
which renders that prospect impossible. On the right and 
left the eye commands the extensive valley that separates 
the Green, South, and West Mountains from the Blue Ridge, 
and has no other bounds but these high mountains, of which, 
on a clear day, you discern the chain on the right upward 
of a hundred miles, far beyond James River; and on the 
left as far as Maryland, on the other side of the Potomac. 
Through some intervals formed by the irregular summits of 


the Blue Mountains, you discover the Peaked Ridge, a chain 
of mountains placed between the Blue and North Mountains, 
another more distant ridge. But in the back part the pros- 
pect is soon interrupted by a mountain more elevated than 
that on which the house is seated* The bounds of the view 
on this point, at so small a distance, form a pleasant resting- 
place, as the immensity of prospect it enjoys is perhaps al- 
ready too vast. . A considerable number of cultivated fields, 
houses, and barns, enliven and variegate the extensive land- 
scape, still more embellished by the beautiful and diversified 
forms of mountains, in the whole chain of which not one 
resembles another. The aid of fancy is, however, required 
to complete the enjoyment of this magnificent view ; and 
she must picture to us those plains and mountains such as 
population and culture will render them' in a greater or 
smaller number of years. The disproportion existing be- 
tween the cultivated lands and those which are still covered 
with forests as ancient as the globe, is at present much too 
great ; and even when that shall have been done away, the 
eye may perhaps further wish to discover a broad river, a 
great mass of water destitute of which, the grandest and 
most extensive prospect is ever destitute of an embellish- 
ment requisite to render it completely beautiful 

On this mountain, and in the surrounding valleys on both 
banks of the Rivanna, are situated the five thousand acres 
of land which Mr. Jefferson possesses in this part of Virginia. 
Eleven hundred and twenty only are cultivated. The land, 
left to the care of stewards, has suffered as well as the 
buildings from the -long absence of the master ; according to 
the custom of the country, it has been exhausted by succes- 
sive culture. Its situation on the declivities of hills and 
mountains renders a careful cultivation more necessary than 
is requisite in lands situated in a flat and even country ; the 
common routine is more pernicious, and more judgment and 
mature thought are required, than in a different soil. .This 
forms at present the chief employment of Mr. Jefferson. But 
little accustomed to agricultural pursuits, he has drawn the 
principles of culture either from works which treat on this 
subject or from conversation. Knowledge thus acquired oft- 
en misleads, and is at all times insufficient in a country where 
agriculture is well understood 5 yet it is preferable to mere 


practical knowledge, and a country where a bad practice 
prevails, and where it is dangerous to follbw the routine, 
from which it is so difficult to depart. Above 'all, much 
good may l>e expected, if a contemplative mind like that of 
Mr. Jsfferson, which takes the theory for its guide, watches 
its application with discernment, and rectifies it according 
to the peculiar circumstances and nature of the country, cli- 
mate, and soil, and conformably to the experience which he 
daily acquires 

In private life Mr. Jefferson displays a mild, easy, and 
obliging temper, though he is somewhat cold and reserved. 
His conversation is of the most agreeable kind, and he pos- 
sesses a stock of information not inferior to that of any other 
man. In Europe he would hold a distinguished rank among 
men of letters, and as such he has already appeared there. 
At present he is employed with activity and perseverance in 
the management of his farms and buildings; and he orders, di- 
rects, and pursues in the minutest details every branch of busi- 
ness relative to them. I found him in the midst of the har- 
vest, from which the scorching heat of the sun does not pre- 
vent his attendance. His negroes are nourished, clothed, and 
treated as well as white servants could be. As he can not 
expect any assistance from the two small neighboring towns, 
every article is made on his farm : his negroes are cabinet- 
makers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, smiths, etc. The 
children he employs in a nail factory, which yields already 
a considerable profit. The young and old n egresses spin for 
the clothing of the rest. He animates them by rewards and 
distinctions ; in fine, his superior mind directs the manage- 
ment of his domestic concerns with the same abilities, ac- 
tivity, and regularity which he evinced in the conduct of 
public affairs, and which he is calculated to display in every 
situation of life. In the superintendence of his household 
he is assisted by his two daughters, Mrs. Randolph and 
Miss Maria, who are handsome, modest, and amiable women. 
They have been educated in France. . . 

Mr. Randolph is proprietor of a considerable plantation, 
contiguous to that of Mr. Jefferson's. He constantly spends 
the summer with him, and, from the affection he bears Mm, 
he seems to be his son rather than his son-in-law. Miss 
Maria constantly resides with her father; but as she is 


seventeen years old, and is remarkably handsome, she will, 
doubtless, soon find that there are duties which it is still 
sweeter to perform than those of a daughter. Mr. Jeffer- 
son's philosophic turn of mind, his love of study, his excel- 
lent library, which supplies him with the means of satisfying 
it, and his friends, will undoubtedly help him to endure this 
loss, which, moreover, is not likely to become an absolute pri- 
vation; as the second son-in-law of Mr. Jefferson may, like 
Mr. Randolph, reside in the vicinity of Monticello, and, if he 
be worthy of Miss Maria, will not be able to find any com- 
pany more desirable than that of Mr. Jefferson. ...'... 
Left Monticello on the 29th of June. 

All through this summer Mr. Jefferson was much occupied 
with the rebuilding of his house, which he hoped to finish 
before the winter set in ; but just as the walls were nearly 
ready to be roofed in, a stiff freeze arrested, in November, all 
work on it for the winter. 

General "Washington having declared his determination to 
retire from public life at the expiration of his second term, 
new candidates had to be run for the Presidential chair. 
The Federalists chose John Adams as their candidate ; while 
the Republicans, having no thought of running as theirs any 
man but Jefferson, placed his name at the head of their tick- 
et. How little interest Jefferson took in the elections, so far 
as his own success was concerned, may be inferred from the 
fact that he did not leave home during the whole campaign, 
and in that time wrote only one political letter. 

As the constitution then stood, the candidate who received 
the highest number of votes was elected President, and the 
one who received the next highest whether he was run for 
President or Vice-president was elected to fill the latter 
office. The elections were over, but the result still unknown, 
when Jefferson wrote, on December 17th, to Mr. Madison, as 

To James Madison-. 

Tour favor of the 5th came to hand last night. The first* 
wish of my heart was that you should have been proposed 


for the administration of the Government. On your declin- 
, ing it, I wish any body rather than myself; and there is 
nothing I so anxiously hope, as that my name may come out 
either secdnd or third. These would be indifferent to me ; 
as the last would leave me at home the whole year, and the 
other two-thirds of it. 

After the result of the elections was no longer doubtful, 
and it was known that Adams had been chosen as President 
and Jefferson Vice-president, the latter wrote the following 
feeling and handsome letter to the former: 

To John Adams. 

Monticello, Dec. 28th, 1796. 

Dear Sir The public and the public papers have been 
much occupied lately in placing us in a point of opposition 
to each other. I trust with confidence that less of it has 
been felt by ourselves personally. In the retired canton 
where I am, I learn little of what is passing ; pamphlets I 
see never; papers but a few, and the fewer the happier. 
Our latest intelligence from Philadelphia at present is of the 
16th inst. But though at that date your election to the first 
magistracy seems not to have been known as a fact, yet with 
me it has. never been doubted. I knew it impossible you 
should lose a vote north of the Delaware, and even if that of 
Pennsylvania should be against you in the mass, yet that you 
would get enough south of that to place your succession out 
of danger. I have never one single moment expected a differ- 
ent issue ; and though I know I shall not be believed, yet it 
is not the less true that I have never wished it. My neigh- 
bors, as my compurgators, could aver that fact, because they 
see my occupations and my attachment to them. 

I leave to others the sublime delight of riding in the 
storm, better pleased with sound sleep and a warm berth 
below, with the society of neighbors, friends, and fellow-la- 
borers of the earth, than of spies and sycophants. No one, 
then, will congratulate you with purer disinterestedness than 
myself. The share, indeed, which I may have had in the late 
vote I shall still value highly, as an evidence of the share I 
have in the esteem of my fellow-citizens. But still, in this 
point of view, a few votes less would be little sensible ; the 


difference in the effect of a few more would be very sensible 
and oppressive to me. I have no ambition to govern men. 
It is a painful and thankless office. Since the day, too, on 
which you signed the treaty of Paris, our horizon was never 
so overcast. I devoutly wish you may be able to shun for 
us this war, by which our agriculture, commerce, and credit 
will be destroyed. If you are, the glory will be all your 
own ; and that your adminstration may be filled with glory 
and happiness to yourself and advantage to us, is the sincere 
wish of one who, though, in the course of our voyage through 
life, various little incidents have happened or been contrived 
to separate us, retains still for you the solid esteem of the 
moments when we were working for our independence, and 

sentiments of respect and attachment. 


Of the office of Vice-president, we find Jefferson, in a let- 
ter to Madison written on January 1st, 1797, saying : 

To James Madison. 

It is the only office in the world about which I am unable 
to decide in my own mind whether I had rather have it or 
not have it. Pride does not enter into the estimate ; for I 
think, with the Romans, that the general of to-day should be 
a soldier to-morrow, if necessary. I can particularly have 
no feelings which could revolt at a secondary position to Mr. 
Adams. I am his junior in life, was his junior in Congress, 
his junior in the diplomatic line, his junior lately in our civil 

He always spoke of this office as being of all others the 
most desirable, from the fact that it gave the incumbent a 
high position, good salary, and ample leisure. To him this 
last advantage was its greatest recommendation, and made 
him accept it with less reluctance than he would have done 
any other which his countrymen could have forced upon 

Jefferson set out on the 20th of February for Philadelphia, 
there to be installed in his new office. He drove his phaeton 
and pair as far as Alexandria, when he sent his servant Jupi- 



ter back home with his horses, while he continued his jour- 
ney in the stage-coach. He arrived in Philadelphia on the 
2d of March. 

With his usual modesty and dislike of display, he had writ- 
ten in January to his friend Mr. Tazewell, who was in Con- 
gress, begging that he might be notified of his election by the 
common channel of the ordinary post, and not by a deputa- 
tion of men of position, as had been the case when the Gov- 
ernment was first inaugurated. So, too, from the same feel- 
ing of diffidence he sought to enter the national capital as a 
private citizen, and without being the recipient of any popu- 
lar demonstrations. It was, however, in vain for him to at- 
tempt to do so. A body of troops were on the look-out for 
him and signalled his approach by a discharge of artillery, 
and, marching before him into the city, bore a banner aloft 
on which were inscribed the words : " Jefferson, the Friend 
of the People." 

An incident characteristic of Jefferson occurred on the 
day of the inauguration. After the oaths of office had been 
administered, the President (Mr. Adams) resumed his seat 
for a moment, then rose and, bowing to the assembly, left 
the hall Jefferson rose to follow, but seeing General Wash- 
ington also rise to leave, he at once fell back to let him pass 
out first. The General, perceiving this, declined to go be- 
fore, and forced the new Vice-president to precede him. The 
doors of the hall closed upon them both amid the tumultu- 
ous cheering of the assembly. 

Jefferson set out for home on the 12th of March and ar- 
rived there on the 20th, having performed the last stages of 
his journey in his sulky. His two daughters were not at 
Monticello, being absent on a long visit to an estate of Col- 
onel Randolph's on James River. A few days after his re- 
turn home he wrote to Mrs. Randolph. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. [.Extract.'] 

MonticeUo, March 27th, '97. 
I arrived in good health at home this day se'nnight. The 


mountain had then been in bloom ten days. I find that the 
natural productions of the spring are about a fortnight ear- 
lier here than at Fredericksburg ; but where art and atten- 
tion can do any thing, some one in a large collection of in- , 
habitants, as in a town, will be before ordinary individuals, 
whether of town or country. I have heard of you but once 
since I left home, and am impatient to know that you are all 
well. I have, however, so much confidence in the dose of 
health with which Monticello charges you in summer and 
autumn, that I count on its carrying you well through the 
winter. The difference between the health enjoyed at Vari- 
na and Presqu'isle* is merely the effect of this. Therefore 
do not ascribe it to Varina and stay there too long. The 
bloom of Monticello is chilled by my solitude. It makes me 
wish the more that yourself and sister were here to enjoy it 
I value the enjoyments of this life only in proportion as you 
participate them with me. All other attachments are weak- 
ening, and I approach the state of mind when nothing will 
hold me here but my Ipve for yourself and sister, and the 
tender connections you have added to me. I hope you will 
write to me ; as nothing is so pleasing during your absence 
as these proofs of your love. Be assured, my dear daughter, 
that you possess mine in its utmost limits. Kiss the dear 
little ones for me. I wish we had one of them here. Adieu 


Again, on April 9th, he writes : 

My love to Maria. Tell her I have made a new law; 
which is, only to answer letters. It would have been her 
turn to have received a letter had she not lost it by not 
writing. Adieu most affectionately, both of you. 

An extra session of Congress recalled Jefferson to Phila- 
delphia during the spring ; and the following extract from 
a letter written to Edward Rutledge while there gives an 
animated picture of the bitterness of party feeling at that 

* A former residence of Mr. and Mrs. Randolph. 


To JSdward Rubledge. 

You and I have seen warm debates and high political pas- 
sions. But gentlemen of different politics would then speak 
to each other, and separate the business of the Senate from 
that of society. It is not so now. Men who have been inti- 
mate all their lives, cross the streets to avoid meeting, and 
turn their heads another way, lest they should be obliged to 
touch their hats. This may do for young men with whom 
passion is enjoyment, but it is afflicting to peaceable minds. 

The following charming family letters will be read with 
pleasure, I feel sure: 

To Mary Jefferson. t 

Philadelphia, May 25th, 1797. 

My dear Maria I wrote to your sister the last week, 
since which I have been very slowly getting the better of 
my rheumatism, though very slowly indeed; being only 
able to walk a little stronger. I see by the newspapers 
that Mr. and Mrs. Church and their family are arrived at 
New York. I have not heard from them, and therefore am 
unable to say any thing about your friend Kitty, or whether 
she be still Miss Batty. The condition of England is so un- 
safe that every prudent person who can quit it, is right in 
doing so. James is returned to this place, and is not given 
up to drink as I had before been informed. He tells me his 
next trip will be to Spain. I am afraid his journeys will 
end in the moon. I have endeavored to persuade him to 
stay where he is, and lay up money. We are not able yet 
to judge when Congress will rise. Opinions differ from two 
to six weeks. A few days will probably enable us to judge. 
I am anxious to hear that Mr. Randolph and the children 
have got home in good health; I wish also to hear that your 
sister and yourself continue in health ; it is a circumstance 
on which the happiness of my life depends. I feel the desire 
of never separating from you grow daily stronger, for noth- 
ing can compensate with me the want of your society. My 
warmest affections to you both. Adieu, and continue to love 
me as I do you. Yours affectionately, 



The letter which comes next was written to Mrs. Ran- 
dolph in reply to one from her announcing to her father 
the engagement of his daughter Maria, to her cousin John 
Wayles Eppes. 

To Martha Jefferson "Randolph. 

Philadelphia, June 8th, 1797. 

I receive with inexpressible pleasure the information your 
letter contained. After your happy establishment, which 
has given me an inestimable friend, to whom I can leave the 
care of every thing I love, the only anxiety I had remain- 
ing was to see Maria also so associated as to insure her happi- 
ness. She could not have been more so to my wishes if I 
had had the whole earth free to have chosen a partner for her. 

I now see our fireside formed into a group, no one member 
of which has a fibre in their composition which can ever pro- 
duce any jarring or jealousies among us. No irregular pas- 
sions, no dangerous bias, which may render problematical 
the future fortunes and happiness of .our descendants. "We 
are quieted as to their condition for at least one generation 

In order to keep us all together, instead of a present posi- 
tion in Bedford, as in your case, I think to open and resettle 
the plantation of Pantops for them. When I look to the in- 
effable pleasure of my family society, I become more and 
more disgusted with the jealousies, the hatred, and the ran- 
corous and malignant passions of this scene, and lament my 
having ever again been drawn into public view. Tranquil- 
lity is now my object. I have seen enough of political hon- 
ors to know that they are but splendid torments ; and how- 
ever one might be disposed to render services on which any 
of their fellow-citizens should set a value, yet, when as many 
would depreciate them as a public calamity, one may well 
entertain a modest doubt of their real importance, and feel 
the impulse of duty to be very weak. The real difficulty is, 
that being once delivered into the hands of others whose 
feelings are friendly to the individual and warm to the pub- 
lic cause, how to withdraw from them without leaving a dis- 
satisfaction in their mind, and an impression of pusillanimity 
with the public. 


Maria Jefferson was married on the 13th of October, 1797, 
to John Wayles Eppes, who was in every respect worthy of 
the high opinion which we have found Jefferson expressing 
for him in the preceding letters. His manners were frank 
and engaging, while his high talents and fine education 
placed him among the first men of the country. The young 
couple spent the early days of their married life at Epping- 
ton, where the little " Polly," so beautiful and so timid, had 
received such motherly care and affection from her good 
Aunt Eppes when heart-broken at the death of her own 

I continue Mr. Jefferson's family letters. 

To Mary Jefferson ISppes. 

Phikdelphia, January 7th, '98. 

I acknowledged, my dear Maria, the receipt of yours in a 
letter I wrote to Mr. Eppes. It gave me the welcome news 
that your sprain was well. But you are not to suppose it 
entirely so. The joint will remain weak for a considerable 
time, and give you occasional pains much longer. The state 

of things at is truly distressing. Mr. 's habitual 

intoxication will destroy himself, his fortune, and family. 
Of all calamities this is the greatest. I wish my sister could 
bear his misconduct with more patience. It would lessen 
his attachment to the bottle, and at any rate would make 
her own time more tolerable. When we see ourselves in a 
situation which must be endured and gone through, it is 
best to make up our minds to it, meet it with firmness, and 
accommodate every thing to it in the best way practicable. 
This lessens the evil, while fretting and fuming only serves 
to increase our own torments. The errors and misfortunes 
of others should be a school for our own instruction. Har- 
mony in the married state is the very first object to be aim- 
ed at. Nothing can preserve affections uninterrupted but a 
firm resolution never to differ in will, and a determination in 
each to consider the love of the other as of more value than 
any object whatever on which a wish had been fixed. How 
light, in fact, is the sacrifice of any other wish when weighed 
against the affections of one with whom we are to pass our 


whole life ! And though opposition in a single instance will 
hardly of itself produce alienation, yet every one has their 
pouch into which all these little oppositions are put ; while 
that is filling the alienation is insensibly going on, and when 
filled it is complete. It would puzzle either to say why ; be- 
cause no one difference of opinion has been marked enough 
to produce a serious effect by itself But he finds his affec- 
tions wearied out by a constant stream of little checks and 
obstacles. Other sources of discontent, very common indeed, 
are the little cross-purposes of husband and wife, in common 
conversation, a disposition in either to ciiticise and question 
whatever the other says, a desire always to demonstrate and 
make Jrim feel himself in the wrong, and especially in com- 
pany/ Nothing is so goading. Much better, therefore, if our 
companion views a thing in a light different from what we 
do, to leave him- in quiet possession of his view. What is 
the use of rectifying him if the thing be unimportant ; and if 
important, let it pass for the present, and wait a softer mo- 
ment and more conciliatory occasion of revising the subject 
together. It is wonderful how many persons are rendered 
unhappy by inattention to these little rules of prudence. 

I have been insensibly led, by the particular case you men- 
tion, to sermonize you on the subject generally ; however, if 
it be the means of saving you from a single heartache, it will 
have contributed a great deal to my happiness ; but before I 
finish the sermon, I must add a word on economy. The un- 
profitable condition of Virginia estates in general leaves it 
now next to impossible for the holder of one to avoid ruin. 
And this condition will continue until some change takes 
place in the mode of working them. In the mean time, noth- 
ing can save us and our children from beggary but a deter- 
mination to get a year beforehand, and restrain ourselves 
vigorously this year to the clear profits of the last. If a debt 
is once contracted by a farmer, it is never paid but by a sale. 

The article of dress is perhaps that in which economy is 
the least to be recommended. It is so important to each to 
continue to please the other, that the happiness of both re- 
quires the most pointed attention to whatever may contrib- 
ute to it and the more as time makes greater inroads on 
our person.. Yet, generally, we become slovenly in propor- 
tion as personal decay requires the contrary. I have great 


comfort in believing that your understanding and disposi- 
tions will engage your attention to these considerations; 
and that yon are connected with a person and family, who 
of all within the circle of my acquaintance are most in the dis- 
positions which will make you happy. Cultivate their affec- 
tions, my dear, with assiduity. Think every sacrifice a gain 
which shall tend to attach them to you. My only object in 
life is to see yourself and your sister, and those deservedly 
dear to you, not only happy, but in no danger of becoming 

I have lately received a letter from your friend Kitty 
Church. I inclose it to you, and think the affectionate ex- 
pressions relative to yourself, and the advance she has made, 
will require a letter from you to her. It will be impossible 
to get a crystal here to fit your watch without the watch 
itself. If you should know of any one coming to Philadel- 
phia, send it to me, and I will get you a stock of crystals. 
The river being frozen up, I shall not be able to send you 
things till it opens, which will probably be some time in Feb- 
ruary. I inclose to Mr. Eppes some pamphlets. Present 
me affectionately to all the family, and be assured of my 
tenderest love to yourself Adieu. 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, Feb. 8th, '98. 

I ought oftener, my dear Martha, to receive your letters, 
for the very great pleasure they give me, and especially when 
they express your affections for me ; for, though I can not 
doubt them, yet they are among those truths which, though 
not doubted, we love to hear repeated. Here, too, they serve, 
like gleams of light, to cheer a dreary scene ; where envy, 
hatred, malice, revenge, and all the worst passions of men, 
are marshalled to make one another as miserable as possible. 
I turn from this with pleasure, to contrast it with your fire- 
side, where the single evening I passed at it was worth more 
than ages here. Indeed, I find myself detaching very fast, 
perhaps too fast, from every thing but yourself, your sister, 
and those who are identified with you. These form the last 
hold the world will have on me, the cords which will be cut 
only when I am loosened from this state of being. I am look- 


ing forward to the spring with all the fondness of desire to 
meet you all once more, and with the change of season to 
enjoy also a change of scene and society. Yet the time of 
our leaving this is not yet talked o 

I am much concerned to hear of the state of health of Mr. 
Randolph and family, mentioned in your letters of Jan. 22d 
and 28th. Surely, my dear, it would be better for you to re- 
move to Monticello. The souih pavilion, the parlor, and 
study will accommodate your family ; and I should think Mr. 
Randolph would find less inconvenience in the riding it 
would occasion him than in the loss of his own and his 
family's health. Let me beseech you, then, to go there, and 
to use every thing and every body as if I were there 

All your commissions shall be executed, not forgetting the 
Game of the Goose, if we can find out what it is, for there 
is some difficulty in that. Kiss all the little ones for me. 
Present me affectionately to Mr. Randolph, and my warmest 
love to yourself Adieu. 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. [J&tract.'] /v/ 

Phikdelphi^ May 17th, '98T 

Having nothing of business to write on to Mr. Randolph 
this week, I with pleasure tae up my pen to express all my 
love to you, and my wishes once more to find myself in the 
only scene where, for me, the sweeter affections of life have 
any exercise. But when I shall be with you seems still un- 
certain. We have been looking forward from three weeks to 
three weeks, and always with disappointment, 'so that I know 
not what to expect. I shall immediately write to Maria, and 

recommend to Mr. Eppes and her to go up to Monticello 

For you to feel all the happiness of your quiet situation, 
you should know the rancorous passions which tear every 
breast here, even of the sex which should be a stranger to 
them. Politics and party hatreds destroy the happiness of 
every being here. They seem, like salamanders, to consider 
fire as their * element. The children, I am afraid, will have 
forgotten me. However, my memory may perhaps be hung 
on the Game of the Goose which I am to carry them. Kiss 

them for me And to yourself, my tenderest love, 

and adieu. 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. [Extract.'] 

Philadelphia, May 81st, '98. 

Tours of the 12th did not get to hand till the 29th ; so it 
must have laid by a post somewhere. The receipt of it, by 
kindling up all 'my recollections, increases my impatience to 
leave this place, and every thing which can be disgusting, 
for Monticello and my dear* family, comprising every thing 
which is pleasurable to me in this world. It has been pro- 
posed in Congress to adjourn on the 14th of June. I have 
little expectation of it ; but, whatever be their determination, 
I am determined myself; and my letter of next week will 
probably carry orders for my horses. Jupiter should, there- 
fore, be in readiness to depart at a night's warning 

I am sorry to hear of Jefferson's indisposition, but glad 
you do not physic him. This leaves nature free and unem- 
barrassed in her own tendencies to repair what is wrong. I 
hope to hear or find that he is recovered. Kiss them all 
for ine. 

To Mary Jefferson Hfypes. 

/ f Monticello, July 13th, '98. 

, My dear Maria I arrived here on the 3d instant, expect- 
ing to have found you here, and we have been ever since im- 
agining that every sound we heard was that of the carriage 
which was once more to bring us together. It was not 
till yesterday I learnt, by the receipt of Mr. Eppes's letter of 
June 30th, that you had been sick, and were only on the re- 
covery at that date. A preceding letter of his, referred to in 
that of the 30th, must have miscarried. We are now infinite- 
ly more anxious, not so much for your arrival here, as your 
firm establishment in health, and that you may not be thrown 
back by your journey. Much, therefore, my dear, as I wish 
to see you, I beg you not to attempt the journey till you are 
quite strong enough, and then only by short days' journeys. 
A relapse will only keep us the longer asunder, and is much 
more formidable than a first attack Tour sister and fami- 
ly are with me. I would have gone to you instantly on the 
receipt of Mr. Eppes's letter, had not that assured me you 
were well enough to take the bark. It would also h$ve 


stopped my workmen here, who can not proceed an hour 
without me, and I am anxious to provide a cover which may 
enable me to have my family and friends about me. Nurse 
yourself, therefore, with all possible care for your own sake, for 
mine, and that of all those who love you, and do not attempt 
to move sooner or quicker than your health admits. Pre- 
sent me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, father and son, to Mrs. 
Eppes and all the family, and be assured that my impatience 
to see you can only be moderated by the stronger desire that 
your health may be safely and firmly re-established. Adieu, 



To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Ellen appeared to be feverish the evening you went away ; 
but visiting her, a little before I went to bed, I found her 
quite clear of fever, and was convinced the quickness of 
pulse which had alarmed me had proceeded from her having 
been in uncommon spirits and constantly running about the 
house through the day, and especially in the afternoon. 
Since that she has had no symptom of fever, and is otherwise 
better than when you left her. The girls, indeed, suppose 
she had a little fever last night ; but I am sure she had not, 
as she was well at 8 o'clock in the evening, and very well in 
the morning, and they say she slept soundly through the 
night. They judged only from her breathing. Every body 
else is well, and only wishing to see you. I am persecuted 

with questions "When I think you will come?" If 

you set out after dinner, be sure to get off between four and 
five. Adieu, my dear. 

Wednesday, Aug. 15th, '98. 

The following letter, without date, was written to the 
daughter of his friend Mrs. Church : 

To Catherine Church. 

I received, my dear Catherine, from the hands of your 
brother, the letter you have done me the favor to write 
me. I see in that letter the excellent disposition which I 
knew in you in an earlier period of life. These have led you 
to. mistake, to your own prejudice, the character of our at- 


tentions to yon. They were not favors, but gratifications of 
our 'own affections to an object who had every quality which 
might endear her to us. Be assured we have all continued 
to love you as if still of our fireside, and to make you the 
very frequent theme of our family conversations. Your 
friend Maria has, as you supposed, changed her condition ; 
she is now Mrs. Eppes. She and her sister, Mrs. Randolph, 
retain all their affection for you, and never fail in their 
friendly inquiries after you whenever an opportunity occurs. 
During my winter's absence, Maria is with the family with 
which she has become allied ; but on my return they will 
also return to reside with me. My daughter Randolph has 
hitherto done the same, but .lately has removed with Mr. 
Randolph to live and build on a farm of their own, adjoining 
me ; but I still count on their passing the greater part of 
their time at Monticello. "Why should we forbid ourselves 
to believe that some day or other some circumstance may 
bring you also to our little society, and renew the recollec- 
tions of former scenes very dear to our memory. Hope is so 
much more charming than disappointments and forebodings, 
that we will not set it down among impossible things. We 
will calculate on the circumstance that you have already 
crossed the ocean which laid between us, and that in com- 
parison with that the space which remains is as nothing. 
Who knows but you may travel to see our springs and our 
Curiosities not, I hope, for your health, but to vary your 
' summer scenes, and enlarge your knowledge of your own 
country. In that case we are on your road, and will endeav- 
or to relieve the fatigues of it by all the offices of friendship 
and hospitality. I thank you for making me acquainted 
with your brother. The relations he bears to the best of 
people are sufficient vouchers to me of his worth. He must 
be of your party when you come to Monticello. Adieu, my 
dear Catherine. I consign in a separate letter my respects 
to your good mother. I have here, therefore, only to claim 
your acceptance of the sincere attachment of yours affec- 


The following gives some glimpses of the French friends 
of Jefferson : 


To Mrs. Church* 

Dear Madam Tour favor of July 6th was to have found 
me here, but I had departed before it arrived. It followed 
me here, and of necessity the inquiries after our friend Ma- 
dame de Corny were obliged to await Mrs. M.'s arrival at 
her own house. This was delayed longer than was expect- 
ed, so that by the time I could make the inquiries I was 
looking again to my return to Philadelphia. This must 
apologize for the delay which has taken place. Mrs. M. tells 
me that Madame Corny was at one time in extreme distress, 
her revenue being in rents, and these paid in assignats worth 
nothing. Since their abolition, however, she receives her 
rents in cash, and is now entirely at her ease. She lives in 
hired lodgings furnished by herself, and every thing about 
her as nice as you know she always had. She visited Mrs. 
M. freely and familiarly in a family .way, but would never 
dine when she had company, nor remain if company came. 
She speaks seriously sometimes of a purpose to come to 
America, but she surely mistakes a wish for a purpose; you 
and I know her constitution too well, and her horror of the 
sea, to believe she could pass or attempt the Atlantic. Mrs. 
M. could not give me her address. In all events, it is a great 
consolation that her situation is easy. We have here a Mr. 
Nlemcewitz, a Polish gentleman who was with us in Paris 
while Mrs. Cosway was there, and who was of her society in 
London last summer. He mentions the loss of her daugh- 
ter, the gloom into which that and other circumstances have 
thrown her, and that it has taken the form of religion. Also 
that she is solely devoted to religious exercises and the su- 
perintendence of a school for Catholic children, which she 
has instituted, but she still speaks of her friends with tender- 
ness. Our letters have been rare, but they have let me see 
that her gayety was gone, and her mind entirely fixed on a 
world to come. I have received from my young friend Cath- 
erine a letter, which gratifies me much, as it proves that our 
friendly impressions have not grown out of her memory. .... 
Be so good as to present my respects to Mr. C., and accept 
assurances of the unalterable attachment of your affection- 
ate friend and servant, . 




Jefferson goes to Philadelphia. Letters to his Daughters. Eeturns to Mon- 
ticello. Letters to his Daughter. Goes hack to Philadelphia. Family 
Letters. Letters to Mrs. and Miss Church. Bonaparte. Letters to his 
Daughters. Is nominated as President. Seat of Government moved to 
Washington. Spends the Summer at Monticello. Letters to his Daugh- 
ter. Jefferson denounced hy the New England Pulpit. Letter to Uriah 
Gregory. Goes to Washington. 

THE third session of the Fifth Congress compelling Mr. 
Jefferson to be in -Philadelphia again, he left Monticello for 
that city the latter part of December, 1798, and arrived there 
on Christmas-day. During his stay in the capital he wrote 
the following charming and interesting letters to his daugh- 

To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 1st, 7 09. 

My dear Maria I left Monticello on the 18th of Decem- 
ber, and arrived here to breakfast on the 25th, having expe- 
rienced no accident or inconvenience except a slight cold, 
which brought back the inflammation of my eyes, and still 
continues it, though so far mended as to give hopes of its 
going off soon. I took my place in Senate before a single 
bill was brought in or other act of business done, except the 
Address, which is exactly what I ought to have nothing to 
do with ; and, indeed, I might have staid at home a week 
longer without missing any business for the last eleven days. 
The Senate have met only on five, and then little or nothing 
to do. However, when I am to write on politics I shall a<?- 
dress my letter to Mr. Eppes. To you I had rather indulge 
the effusions of a heart which tenderly loves you, which 
builds its happiness on yours, and feels in every other object 
but little interest. Without an object here which is not 
alien to me, and barren of every delight, I turn to your situ- 
ation with pleasure, in the midst of a good family which 


loves you, and merits all your love. Go on, my dear, in cul- 
tivating the invaluable possession of their affections. The 
circle of our nearest connections is the only one in which a 
faithful and lasting affection can be found, one which will 
adhere to us under all changes and chances. It is, therefore, 
the only soil on which it is worth while to bestow much cul- 
ture. Of this truth you will become more convinced every 
day you advance into life. I imagine you are by this time 
about removing to Mont Blanco. The novelty of setting up 
housekeeping will, with all its difficulties, make you very 
happy for a while. Its delights, however, pass away in time, 
and I am in hopes that by the spring of the year there will 
be no obstacle to your joining us at Monticello. I hope I 
shajl, on my return, find such preparation made as will ena- 
ble me rapidly to get one room after another prepared for 
the accommodation of our friends, and particularly of any 
who may be willing to accompany or visit you there. Pre- 
sent me affectionately to Mrs. and Mr. Eppes, father and 
son, and all the family. Remember how pleasing your let- 
ters will be to me, and be assured of my constant and ten- 
der love. Adieu, my ever dear Maria. 

Tours affectionately, 


The following are extracts from two letters to Mrs. Ran- 
dolph : 

To Martha Jefferson' Randolph. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 23d, r 99. 

The object of this letter, my very dear Martha, is merely 
to inform you I am well, and convey to you the expressions 
of my love. It will not be new to tell you your letters do 
not come as often as I could wish. This deprives me of the 
gleams of pleasure wanting to relieve the 'dreariness of this 
scene, where not one single occurrence is calculated to pro- 
duce pleasing sensations. I hope you are all well, and that 

the little ones, even Ellen, talk of me sometimes Kiss 

all the little ones, and receive the tender and unmingled ef- 
fusions of my love to yourself. Adieu. 

Philadelphia, Feb. 5th, '99. 
Jupiter, with my horses, must be at Fredericksburg on 


Tuesday evening, the 5th of March. I shall leave this place 
on the 1st or 2d. You will receive this the 14th instant. I 
am already light-hearted at the approach of my departure. 
Kiss my dear children for me. Inexpressible love to your- 
self, and the sincerest affection to Mr. Randolph. Adieu. 

To Mary Jefferson JSppes. 

Philadelphia, Feb. 7th, '99. 

Tour letter, my dear Maria, of January 21st, was received 
two days ago. It was, as Ossian says, or would say, like the 
bright beams of the moon on the desolate heath. Environed 
here in scenes of constant torment, malice, and obloquy, worn 
down in a station where no effort to render service can avail 
any thing, I feel not that existence is a blessing, but when 
something recalls my mind to my family or farm. This was 
the effect of your letter ; and its affectionate expressions kin- 
dled up all those feelings of love for you and our dear con- 
nections which now constitute the only real happiness of my 
life. I am now feeding on the idea of my departure for 
Monticello, which is but three weeks distant. The roads 
will then be so dreadful, that, as to visit you even by the di- 
rect route of Fredericksburg and Richmond would add one 
hundred miles to the length of my journey, I must defer it, 
in the hope that about the last of March, or first of April, I 
may be able to take a trip express to see you. The roads 
will then be fine ; perhaps your sister may join in a flying 
trip, as it can only be for a few days. In the mean time, 
let me hear from you. Letters which leave Richmond after 
the 21st instant should be directed to me at Monticello. I 
suppose you to be now at Mont Blanco, and therefore do 
not charge you with the delivery of those sentiments of 
esteem which I always feel for the family at Eppington. I 
write to Mr. Eppes. Continue always to love me, and be 
assured that there is no object on earth so dear to my heart 
as your health and happiness^ and that my tenderest affec- 
tions always hang on you. Adieu, my ever dear Maria. 


Mr. Jefferson left the Seat of Government on the first of 
March ; and the following letters, written immediately on his 
arrival at Monticello, will show how much his affairs at home 


suffered during his absence. Indeed he seemed to be able 
only to get the workmen fairly under way on his house, 
when a call to Philadelphia would again suspend operations 
on it almost entirely until his return, 

To Mary Jefferson ISppes* 

Monticello, March. 8th, '99. 

My dear Maria I am this moment arrived here, and the 
post being about to depart, I sit down to inform you of it. 
Your sister came over with me from Belmont, where we left 
all well. The family will move over the day after to-mor- 
row. They give up the house there about a week hence. 
We want nothing now to fill up our happiness but to have 
you and Mr. Eppes here. Scarcely a stroke has been done 
towards covering the house since I went away, so that it has 
remained open at the north end another winter. It seems 
as if I should never get it inhabitable. I have proposed to 
your sister a flying trip, when the roads get fine, to see you. 
She comes into it with pleasure ; but whether I shall be able 
to leave this for a few days is a question which I have not 
yet seen enough of the state of things to determine,. I think 
it very doubtful. It is to your return, therefore, that I look 
with impatience, and shall expect as soon as Mr. Eppes's af- 
fairs will permit. We are not without hopes he will take 
a trip up soon to see about his aflairs here, of which I yet 
know nothing. I hope you are enjoying good health, and 
that it will not be long before we are again united in some 
way or other. Continue to love me, my dear, as I do you 
most tenderly. Present me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, and 
be assured of my constant and warmest love. Adieu, my 
ever dear Maria. 

Mrs. Eppes reached Monticello at last, and Jefferson was 
made happy by having all of his children and grandchildren 
once more assembled under his roof, where they spent the 
summer happily together. Jefferson returned to Philadel- 
phia the last days of December; and we find the same weari- 
ness of the life he led there, and the same longing for home, 

* At Mont Blanco, a place near Petersburg. 


in tlie following letters, as we have seen in the preceding. 
In these we find, however, a stronger spice of politics than in 
the former. 

To Mary J~efferson Eppes. 

Phikdelphia, Jan. 17th, 1800. 

My dear Maria I received at Monticello two letters from 
you, and meant to have answered them a little "before my 
departure for this place; but business so crowded upon me 
at that moment that it was not in my power. I left home 
on the 21st, and arrived here on the 28th of December, after 
a pleasant journey of fine weather and good roads, and with- 
out having experienced any inconvenience. The Senate had 
not yet entered into business, and I may say they have not 
yet entered into it ; for we have not occupation for half an 
hour a day. Indeed, it is so apparent that we have nothing 
to do but to raise money to fill the deficit of five millions of 
dollars, that it is proposed we shall rise about the middle of 
March ; and as the proposition comes from the Eastern mem- 
bers, who have always been for sitting permanently, while 
the Southern are constantly for early adjournment, I pre- 
sume we shall rise then. 1 In the mean while, they are about 
to renew the bill suspending intercourse with France, 
which is in fact a bill to prohibit the exportation of tobac- 
co, and to reduce the tobacco States to passive obedience 
by poverty. 

J. Randolph has entered into debate with great splendor 
and approbation. He used an unguarded word in his first 
speech, applying the word "ragamuffin" to the common sol- 
diery. He took it back of his own accord, and very hand- 
somely, the next day, when he had occasion to reply. Still, 
in the evening of the second day, he was jostled, and his 
coat pulled at the theatre by two officers of the Navy, who 
repeated the word " ragamuffin." His friends present sup- 
ported him spiritedly, so that nothing further followed. 
Conceiving, and, as I think, justly, that the House of Repre- 
sentatives (not having passed a law on the subject) could 
not punish the offenders, he wrote a letter to the President, 
who laid it before the House, where it is still depending. He 
has conducted himself with great propriety, and I have no 
doubt will come out with increase of reputation, being deter- 


mined himself to oppose the interposition of the House when 
they have no law for it. 

M. du Pont, his wife and family, are arrived at New York, 
after a voyage of three months and five days. I suppose 
after he is a little recruited from his voyage we shall see him 
here. His son is with him, as is also his son-in-law, Bureau 
Pusy, the companion and fellow -sufferer of Lafayette. I 
have a letter from Lafayette of April ; he then expected to 
sail for America in July, but I suspect he awaits the effect 
of the mission of our ministers. I presume that Madame de 
Lafayette is to come with him, and that they mean to settle 
in America. 

The prospect of returning early to Monticello is to me a 
most charming one. I hope the fishery will not prevent 
your joining us early in the spring. However, on this sub- 
ject we can speak together, as I will endeavor, if possible, to 
take Mont Blanco and Eppington in my way. 

A letter from Dr. Carr, of December 27, informed me he 
had just left you well. I become daily more anxious to hear 
from you, and to know that you continue well, your present 
state being one which is most interesting to a parent ; and 
its issue, I hope, will be such as to give you experience what 
a parent's anxiety may be. I employ my leisure moments 
in repassing often in my mind our happy domestic society 
when together at Monticello, and looking forward to the re- 
newal of it. No other spciety gives me now any satisfac- 
tion, as no other is founded in sincere affection. Take care 
of yourself, my dear Maria, for my sake, and cherish your af- 
fections for me, as my happiness rests solely on yours, and 
on that of your sister's and your dear connections. Present 
me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, to whom I inclosed some 
pamphlets some time ago without any letter; as I shall 
write no letters the ensuing year, for political reasons 
which I explained to him. Present my affections also to 
Mrs. and Mr. Eppes, Senior, and all the family, for whom I 
feel every interest that I do for my own. Be assured your- 
self, my dear, of my most tender and constant love. Adieu. 
Yours affectionately and forever, 



To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 21st, 1800. 

I am made happy by a letter from Mr. Eppes, informing 
me that Maria was become a mother, and was well. It was 
written the day after the event. These circumstances are 
balm to the painful sensations of this place. I look forward 
with hope to the moment when we are all to be reunited 
again. I inclose a little tale for Anne. To Ellen you must 
make big promises, which I know a bit of gingerbread will 
pay off. Kiss them all for me. My affectionate salutations 
to Mr. Randolph, and tender and increasing love to yourself. 
Adieu, my dear Martha* Affectionately yours, etc. 

To Mrs. Church. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 21st, 1800. 

I am honored, my dear Madam, with your letter of the 
16th inst., and made happy by the information of your health. 
It was matter of sincere regret on my arrival here to learn 
that you had left it but a little before, after passing some 
time here. I should have been happy to have renewed to 
you in person the assurances of my affectionate regards, to 
have again enjoyed a society which brings to me the most 
pleasant recollections, and to have past in review together 
the history of those friends who made an interesting part of 
our circle, and for many of whom I have felt the deepest af- 
fliction. My friend Catherine I could have entertained with 
details of her living friends, whom you are so good as to 
recollect, and for whom I am to return you thankful ac- 

I shall forward your letter to my daughter Eppes, who, I 
am sure, will make you her own acknowledgments. It will 
find her " in the straw ;" having lately presented me with 
the first honors of a grandfather ' on her part. Mrs. Ran- 
dolph has made them cease to be novelties she has four 
children. We shall teach them all to grow up in esteem for 
yourself and Catherine. Whether they or we may have op- 
portunities of testifying it personally must depend on the 
chapter of events. I am in the habit of turning over its next 
leaf with hope, and though it often fails me, there is still an- 
other and another behind. In the mean time, I cherish with 


fondness those affectionate sentiments of esteem and respect 
with which I am, my dear Madam, your sincere and humble 


To Catherine Church. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 22d, 1800. 

I wrote to your mamma yesterday, my dear Catherine, in- 
tending to have written by the same post to yourself. An 
interruption, however, put it out of my power. It was the 
more necessary to have done it, as I had inadvertently made 
an acknowledgment in my letter to her instead of yourself, 
of yours of the 16th. I receive with sincere pleasure this 
evidence of your recollection, and assure you I reflect with 
great pleasure on the scenes which your letter recalls. You 
are often the subject of our conversation, not indeed at our 
fireside, for that is the season of our dispersion, but in our 
summer walks when the family reassembles at Monticello. 
You are tenderly remembered by both Mrs. Randolph and 
Mrs. Eppes, and I have this day notified Maria that I have 
promised you a letter from her. She was not much addicted 
to letter-writing before ; and I fear her new character of 
mother may furnish new excuses for her remissness. Should 
this, however, be the occasion of my becoming the channel of 
your mutual love, it may lessen the zeal with which I press 
her pen upon her. But in whatever way I hear from yon, 
be assured it will always be with that sincere pleasure which 
is inspired by the sentiments of esteem and attachment with 
which I am, my dear Catherine, your affectionate friend and 

humble servant, 


In a letter to Mr. Randolph, written early in February, 
Mr. Jefferson makes the following remarks about Bonaparte : 

To Thomas Mann Randolph. 

Should it be really true that Bonaparte has usurped the 
Government with an intention of making it a free one, what- 
ever his talents may be for war, we have no proofs that he 
is skilled in forming governments friendly to the people. 
Wherever he has meddled, we have seen nothing -but frag- 


ments of the old Roman governments stuck into materials 
with which they can form no cohesion : we see the "bigotry 
of an Italian to the ancient splendor of his country, but noth- 
ing which bespeaks a luminous view of the organization of 
rational government. Perhaps, however, this may end bet- 
ter than we augur ; and it certainly will if his head is equal 
to true and solid calculations of glory. 

And again, in a letter of a few days' later date, to Samuel 
Adams : 

To Samud Adams. 

I fear our friends on the other side of the water, laboring in 
the same cause, have yet a great deal of crime and misery to 
wade through. My confidence has been placed in the head, 
not in the heart of Bonaparte. I hoped he would calculate 
truly the difference between the fame of a Washington and 
a Cromwell. Whatever his views may be, he has at least 
transferred the destinies of the Republic from the civil to 
the military arm. Some will use this as a lesson against the 
practicability of republican government. I read it as a les- 
son against the danger of standing armies. 

We continue his family letters. 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, Feb. llth, 1800. 

A person here has invented the prettiest improvement in 
the forte-piano I have ever seen. It has tempted me to en- 
gage one for Monticello ; partly for its excellence and con- 
venience, partly to assist a very ingenious, modest, and poor 
young man, who ought to make a fortune by his inven- 
tion There is really no business which ought to 

keep us one fortnight. I am therefore looking forward with 
anticipation of the joy of seeing you again ere long, and 
tasting true happiness in the midst of my family. My ab- 
sence from you teaches me how essential your society is to 
my happiness. Politics are such a torment that I would ad- 
vise every, one I love not to mix with them. I have changed 
my circle here according to my wish, abandoning the rich 
and declining their dinners and parties, and associating en- 


tirely with the class of science, of whom there is a valuable 
society here. Still, my wish is to be in the midst of our own 

families at home Kiss all the dear little ones for me ; 

do not let Ellen forget me ; and continue to me your love 
in return for the constant and tender attachment of yours 

To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Philadelphia, Feb. 12th, 1800. 

My dear Maria Mr. Eppes's letter of January 17th had 
filled me with anxiety for your little one, and that of the 
25th announced what I had feared. How deeply I feel it in 
all its bearings I shall not say nor attempt consolation 
when I know that time and silence are the only medicines. 
I shall only observe, as a source of hope to us all, that you 
are young, and will not fail to possess enough of these dear 
pledges which bind us to one another and to life itself. I 
am almost hopeless in writing to you, from observing that, 
at the date of Mr. Eppes's letter of January 25th, three 
which I had written to him and one to you had not been re- 
ceived. That to you was January 17th, and to him Decem- 
ber 21, January 22, and one which only covered some pam- 
phlets. That of December 21st was on the subject of Pow- 
ell, and would of course give occasion for an answer. I have 
always directed to Petersburg ; perhaps Mr. Eppes does not 

have inquiries made at the, post-office there I will 

inclose this to the care of Mr. Jefferson 

I fully propose, if nothing intervenes to prevent it, to take 
Chesterfield in my way "home. I am not without hopes you 
will be ready to go on with me ; but at any rate that you 
will soon follow. I know no happiness but when we are all 
together. You have, perhaps, heard of the loss of Jupiter. 
With all his defects, he leaves a void in my domestic ar- 
rangements which can not be filled. Mr. Eppes's last letter 
informed me how much you had suffered from your breasts ; 
but that they had then suppurated, and the inflammation and 
consequent fever abated. I am anxious to hear again from 
you, and hope the next letter will announce your re-estab- 
lishment. It is necessary for my tranquillity that I should 
hear from you often ; for I feel inexpressibly whatever af- 
fects your health or happiness. My attachments to the 


world, and whatever it can offer, are daily wearing off; but 
you are one of the lints which hold to my existence, and can 
only break off with that. You have never, by a word or deed, 
given me one moment's uneasiness ; on the contrary, I have 
felt perpetual gratitude to Heaven for having given me in 
you a source of so much pure and unmixed happiness ; go 
on then, my dear, as you have done, in deserving the love of 
every body ; you will reap the rich reward of their esteem, 
and will find that we are working for ourselves while we do 
good to others. 

I had a letter from your sister yesterday. They were all 
well One from Mr. Randolph had before informed me they 
had got to Edgehill, and were in the midst of mud, smoke, 
and the uncomfortableness of a cold house. Mr. Trist is 
here alone, and will return soon. 

Present me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, and tell him when 
you can not write he must ; as also to the good family at 
Eppington, to whom I wish every earthly good. To your- 
self, my dear Maria, I can not find expressions for my love. 
You must measure it by the feelings of ^a warm heart. 



To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Philadelphia, April 6th, 1800. 

I have 'at length, my ever dear Maria, received by Mr. 
Eppes's letter of March 24 the welcome news of your recov- 
ery welcome, indeed, to me, who have passed a long season 
of inexpressible anxiety for you ; and the more so as written 
accounts can hardly give one an exact idea of the situation 
of a sick person. 

I wish I were able to leave this place and join you ; but 
we do not count on rising till the first or second week of 
May. I shall certainly see you as soon after that as possible, 
at Mont Blanco or Eppington, at whichever you may be, and 
shall expect you to ^o up with me, according to the prom- 
ise in Mr. Eppes's letter. I shall send orders for my horses 
to be with you, and wait for me if they arrive before me. I 
must ask Mr. Eppes to write me a line immediately by post, 
to inform me at which place you will be during the first and 
second weeks of May, and what is the nearest point on the 


road from Richmond where I can quit the stage and borrow 
a horse to go on to you. If written immediately I may re- 
ceive it here before my departure. 

Mr, Eppes's letter informs me your sister was with you at 
that date; but from Mr. Randolph I learn she was to go up 
this month. The uncertainty where she was, prevented my 
writing to her for a long time. If she is still with you, ex- 
press to her all my love and tenderness for her. Your tables 
have been ready some time, and will go in a vessel which 
sails for Richmond this week. They are packed in a box 
marked J. W. E., and will be delivered to Mr. Jefferson, prob- 
ably about the latter part of this month. 

I write no news for Mr. Eppes, because my letters are so 
slow in getting to you that he will see every thing first in 
the newspapers. -Assure him of my sincere affections, and 
present the same to the family of Eppington, if you are to- 
gether. Cherish your own health for the sake of so many 
to whom you are so dear, and especially for one who loves 
you with unspeakable tenderness. Adieu, my dearest Maria. 


To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Philadelphia, April 22d, 1800. 

Mr. Eppes informs me that Maria was so near well that 
they expected in a few days to go to Mont Blanco. Your 
departure gives me a hope her cure was at length establish- 
ed, A long and painful case it has been, and not the most 
so to herself or those about her; my anxieties have been ex- 
cessive. I shall go by Mont Blanco to take her home with 

I long once more to get all together again ; and still hope, 
notwithstanding your present establishment, you will pass a 
great deal of the summer with us. I wish to urge it just so 
far as not to break in on your and Mr. Randolph's desires 
and convenience. Our scenes here can never be pleasant ; 
l?ut they have been less stormy, less painful than during the 
X Y Z paroxysms. 

During the session of Congress the Republicans nominated 
as candidates for the coming Presidential election Mr. Jeffer- 
son for President and Aaron Burr for Vice-President. The 


opposite party chose as their nominees, Mr. Adams and Mr. 

The Seat of Government was moved to Washington in 
June, 1800. We can well understand how disagreeable the 
change from the comfortable city of Philadelphia to a rough, 
unfinished town must have been. Mrs. Adams seems to have 
felt it sensibly, and in the following letter to her daughter 
has left us an admirable and amusing picture of it: 

From Mrs. Adams. 

I arrived here on Sunday last, and without meeting with 
any accident worth, noticing, except losing ourselves when 
we left Baltimore, and going eight or nine miles on the 
Frederick road, by which means we were obliged to go the 
other eight through woods, where we wandered two hours 
without finding a guide or the path. Fortunately a strag- 
gling black came up with us, and we engaged him as a guide 
to extricate us out of our difficulty ; but woods are all you see 
from Baltimore until you reach the city, which is only so 
in name. Here and there is a small cot, without a glass win- 
dow, interpersed among the forests, through which you trav- 
el miles without seeing any human being. In the city there 
are buildings enough, if they were compact and finished, to 
accommodate Congress and those attached to it ; but as they 
are, and scattered as they are, I see no great comfort for 
them. The river which runs up to Alexandria is in full 
view of my window, and I see the vessels as they pass and 
repass. The' house is upon a grand and superb scale, requir- 
ing about thirty servants to attend and keep the apartments 
in proper order, and perform the ordinary business of the 
house and stables ; an establishment very well proportioned 
to the President's salary ! The lighting the apartments from 
the kitchen to parlors and chambers is a tax indeed, and the 
fires we are obliged to keep to secure us from daily agues is 
another very cheering comfort. To assist us in this great 
castle, and render less attendance necessary, bells are wholly 
wanting, not one single one being hung through the whole 
house, and promises are all you can obtain. This is so great 
an inconvenience, that I know not what to do, or how to do. 

The ladies from Georgetown and in the city have many 


of them visited me. Yesterday I returned fifteen visits 
but sufch a place as Georgetown appears why, our Milton is 
beautiful But no comparisons; if they will put me up 
some bells, and let me have wood enough to keep fires, I 
design to be pleased. I could content myself almost any- 
where three months ; but, surrounded with forests, can you 
believe that wood is not to be had, because people can not 
be found to cut and cart it ? Briesler entered into a con- 
tract with a man to supply him with wood. A small part, 
a few cords only, has he been able to get. Most of that 
was expended to dry the walls, of the house before we came 
in, and yesterday the man told him it was impossible for 
him to procure it to be cut and carted. He has had re- 
course to coals ; but we can not get grates made and set. 
We have, indeed, come into a new countiy. 

You must keep all this to yourself, and "when asked how I 
like it, say that I write you the situation is beautiful, which 
is true. The house is made habitable, but there is not a 
single apartment finished, and all within side, except the 
plastering, has been done since Briesler came. We have not 
the least fence, yard, or other conveniences without, and the 
great unfinished audience-room I make a drying-room of to 
hang up the clothes in. The principal stairs are not up, and 
will not be this winter. Six chambers are made comforta- 
ble ; two are occupied by the President and Mr. Shaw ; two 
lower rooms, one for a common parlor, and one for a levee- 
room. Up stairs there is the oval-room, which is designed 
for the drawing-room, and has the crimson furniture in it. 
It is a very handsome room now; but when completed it 
will be beautiful 

If the twelve years, in which this place has been consider- 
ed as the future Seat of Government, had been improved, as 
they would have been if in New England, very many of the 
present inconveniences would have been removed. It is a 
beautiful spot, capable of every improvement, and the more 
I view it the more I am delighted with it.* 

The whole summer of 1800 was spent by Jefferson quietly 
at home. He only left Monticello once, and that was to pay 

* Mrs. Adams's letters, ToL ii., p. 239. 


a short visit to Bedford. He was unusually busy on his 
farms and with his house. He took no part whatever in the 
political campaign, and held himself entirely aloof from it. 

In the following letter we find betrayed all the tender 
anxieties of a fond and loving father : 

To Mary Jefferson JEppes. 

Monticello, July 4th, 1800. 

My dear Maria We have heard not a word of you since 
.the moment you left us. I hope you had a safe and pleasant 
journey. The rains which began to fall here the next day 
gave me uneasiness lest they should have overtaken you 
also. Dr. and Mrs. Bache have been with us till the day be- 
fore yesterday. Mrs. Monroe is now in our neighborhood, to 
continue during the sickly months. Our forte-piano arrived 
a day or two after you left us. It has been exposed to a 
great deal of rain, but being well covered was only much un- 
tuned. I have given it a poor tuning. It is the delight of 
the family, and all pronounce what your choice will be. 
Tour sister does not hesitate to prefer it to any harpsichord 
she ever saw except her own; and it is easy to see it is 
only the celestini which retains that preference. It is as 
easily tuned as a spinette and will not need it half as often. 
Our harvest has been a very fine one. I finish to-day. It is 
the heaviest crop of wheat I ever had. 

A murder in our neighborhood is the theme of its present 
conversation. George Carter shot Birch, of Charlottesville, 
in his own door and on very slight provocation. He died in 
a few minutes. The examining court meets to-morrow. 

As your harvest must be over as soon as ours, we hope to 
see Mr. Eppes and yourself. All are well here except Ellen, 
who is rather drooping than sick ; and all are impatient to 
see you no one so much as he whose happiness is wrapped 
up in yours. My affections to Mr. Eppes and tenderest love 
to yourself Hasten to us. Adieu, 


During the political campaign of the summer of 1800, Jef- 
ferson was denounced by many divines who thought it 
their duty to preach politics instead of Christian charity as 


an atheist and a French. infideL These attacks were made 
upon him by half the clergy of New England, and hy a few 
in other Northern States ; in the former section, however, 
they were most virulent. The common people of the coun- 
try were told that should he be elected their Bibles would be 
taken from them. In New York the Reverend Doctor John 
M. Mason published a pamphlet attacking Jefferson, which 
was entitled, " The voice of Warning to Christians on the 
ensuing Election." In New England sermons preached 
against Jefferson were printed and scattered through the 
land ; among them one in which a parallel is drawn between 
him and the wicked Rehoboam. In another his integrity 
was impeached. This last drew from Jefferson the following 
notice, in a letter written to Uriah McGregory, of Connecti- 
cut, on the 13th of August, 1800 : 

To Mr. Me Gregory. 

From the moment that a portion of my fellow-citizens 
looked towards ine with a view to one of their highest of- 
fices, the floodgates of calumny have been opened upon me ; 
not where I am personally known, where their slanders would 
be instantly judged and suppressed, from a general sense of 
their falsehood ; but in the remote parts of the Union, where 
the means of detection are not at hand, and the trouble 
of an inquiry is greater than would suit the hearers to un- 
dertake. I know that I might have filled the courts of the 
United States with actions for these slanders, and have ruin- 
ed, perhaps, many persons who are not innocent. But this 
would be no equivalent to the loss of character. I leave 
them, therefore, to the reproof of their own consciences. If 
these do not condemn them, there will yet come a 'day when 
the false witness will meet a Judge who has not slept over 
his slanders. 

If the reverend Cotton Mather Smith, of Shena, believed 
this as firmly as I do, he would surely never have affirmed 
that I had obtained my property by fraud and robbery; 
that in one instance I had defrauded and robbed a widow 
and fatherless children of an estate, to which I was executor, 
of ten thousand pounds sterling, by keeping the property, 


and paying them in money at the nominal rate, when it was 
worth no more than forty for one ; and that all this could 
be proved* Every tittle of it is fable there not having ex- 
isted a single circumstance of my life to which any part of 
it can hang. I never was executor but in two instances, 
both of which having taken place about the beginning of the 
Revolution, which withdrew me immediately from all pri- 
ivate pursuits, I never meddled in either executorship. In 
one of the cases only were there a widow and children. She 
was my sister. She retained and managed the estate in her 
own hands, and no part of it was ever in mine* In the other 
I was a co-partner, and only received, on a division, the equal 
portion allotted me. To neither of these executorships, 
therefore, could Mr. Smith refer. 

Again, my property is all patrimonial, except about seven 
or eight hundred pounds' worth of lands, purchased by my- 
self and paid for, not to widows and orphans, but to the very 
gentlemen from whom I purchased. If Mr. Smith, therefore, 
thinks the precepts of the Gospel intended for those who 
preach them as well as for others, he will doubtless some 
day feel the duties of repentance, and of acknowledgment in 
such forms as to correct the wrong he has dolie. Perhaps 
he will have to wait till the passions of the moment have 
passed away. All this is left to his own conscience.- 

These, Sir, are facts well known to every person in this 
quarter, which I have committed to paper for your own sat- 
isfaction, and that of those to whom you may choose to 
mention them. I only pray that my letter may not go out 
of your own hands, lest it should get into the newspapers, a 
bear-garden scene into which I have made it a point to en- 
ter on no provocation* 

Jefferson went to Washington the last of November, the 
length and tedium of the journey to the new capital being 
nothing in comparison to what it had been to the old. 



Results of Presidential Election. Letter to his Daughter. Balloting for 
President. Letter to his Daughter. Is inaugurated. Returns to Monti- 
cello. Letters to his Daughter. Goes hack to Washington. Inaugu- 
rates the Custom of sending a written Message to Congress. Aholishes 
Levees. Letter to Story. To Dickinson. Letter from Mrs. Cos way. 
Family Letters. Makes a short Visit to Monticello. 

THE result of the Presidential Election of 1800 was the 
success of the Republican candidates both Jefferson and 
Burr receiving the same number (73) of electoral votes. 
The chance of any two candidates receiving a tie vote was a 
circumstance which had not been provided for, and though 
all knew that Jefferson had been run to fill the office of Pres- 
ident, and Burr that of Vice-president, the tie vote gave the 
latter a chance which the Federalists urged him to seize, 
and which he did not neglect to be made President. 

The following letter gives the first sign of the coming 
storm, which for a week convulsed the country with excite- 
ment, and shook the young Government to its centre. 

To Mary Jefferson JBppes, Bermuda Hundred. 

Washington, Jan. 4th, 1801. 

Your letter, my dear Maria, of Deo. 28, is just now re- 
ceived, and shall be immediately answered, as shall all others 
received from yourself or Mr. Eppes. This will keep our ac- 
counts even, and show, by the comparative promptness of re- 
ply, which is most anxious to hear from the other. I wrote 
to Mr. Eppes, December 23d, but directed it to Petersburg; 
hereafter it shall be to City Point. I went yesterday to 
Mount Yernon, where Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Lewis ask- 
ed very- kindly after you. Mrs. Lewis looks thin, and thinks 
herself not healthy; but it seems to be more in opinion than 
any thing else. She has a child of very uncertain health. 

The election is understood to stand 73, 73, 65, 64. The 


Federalists were confident, at first, they could debauch Col. 
B. [Burr] from his good faith by offering him their vote to 
be President, and- have seriously proposed it to him. His 
conduct has been honorable and decisive, and greatly embar- 
rasses them. Time seems to familiarize them more and more 
to acquiescence, and to render it daily more probable they 
will yield to the known will of the people, and that some 
one State will join the eight already decided as to their vote. 
The victory of the Republicans in New Jersey, lately ob- 
tained by carrying their whole Congressional members on an 
election by general ticket, has had weight on their spirits. 

Should I be destined to remain here, I shall count on meet- 
ing you and Mr. Eppes at Monticello the first week in April, 
where I shall not have above three weeks to stay. We shall 
then be able to consider how far it will be practicable to 
prevent this new destination from shortening the time of 
our being together, for be assured that no considerations in 
this world would compensate to me a separation from your- 
self and your sister. But the distance is so moderate that I 
should hope a journey to this place would be scarcely more 
inconvenient than one to Monticello. But of this we will 
talk when we meet there, which will be to me a joyful mo- 
ment. Remember me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, and ac- 
cept yourself the effusion of my tenderest love. Adieu, my 

dearest Maria. 


The balloting for President in the House of Representa- 
tives began on the llth of February. A snow-storm raged 
without, while the bitterest partisan feeling was at work 
within the Congressional halls. A member who was too ill 
to leave his bed was borne on a litter to the Capitol ; his 
wife accompanied him, and, remaining at his side, administer- 
ed his medicines to him. The ballot-boxes were carried to 
his couch, so that he did not miss a single ballot. Had he 
failed to vote, the Republicans would have lost a vote. The 
people throughout the country were kept in a ferment by 
the wild reports which came to them of the state of affairs in 
Washington. The Governor of Yirginia established a line 
of express riders between Washington and Richmond dur- 


ing the whole of this eventful week, that he might learn as 
speedily as possible the result of each ballot. The best 
picture of the exciting scene is found in the following dis- 
patches sent by John Randolph to his step-father, St. George 
Tucker, while the balloting was going on : 

Dispatches from John Jtandolph* 

Chamber of the House of Representatives, 

Wednesday, February llth, 1801. 

Seven times we have balloted eight States for J. ; six for 
B. ; two, Maryland and Vermont, divided. Voted to post- 
pone for an hour the process ; now half-past four resumed 
result the same. The order against adjourning, made with 
a view to Mr. Nicholson, who was ill, has not operated. He 
left his sick-bed, came through a snow-storm, brought his bed, 
and has prevented the vote of Maryland from being given to 
Burr. Mail closing. Tours with perfect love and esteem, 

J. B., JB. 

Thursday Morning, February 12th. 

We have just taken the nineteenth ballot (the balloting 
continued through the night). The result has invariably 
been eight States for J., six for B., two divided. We con- 
tinue to ballot with the interval of an hour. The rule for 
making the sittings permanent seems now to be not so agree- 
able to our Federal gentlemen. No election will, in my opin- 
ion, take place. By special permission, the mail will remain 
open until four o'clock. I will not close my letter till three. 
If there be a change, I shall notify it ; if not, I shall add no 
more to the assurance of my entire affection. 


Chamber of the House of Representatives, 
February 14th, 1801. 

After endeavoring to make the question before us depend 
upon our physical construction, our opponents have begged 
for a dispensation from their own regulation, and without 
adjourning, we have postponed (like able casuists) from day 
to day the balloting. In half an hour we shall recommence 
the operation. The result is marked below. We have bal- 

* See Appendix to Tucker's Life of Jefferson. 



loted thirty-one hours. Twelve o'clock, Saturday noon, eight 
fot J., six for B., two divided. Again at one, not yet decided. 
Same result. Postponed till Monday, twelve o'clock. 


In the midst of these scenes Jefferson wrote the following 
letter to Mrs. Eppes, in which we find strangely blended pol- 
itics and fatherly love a longing for retirement and a lurk- 
ing desire to leave to his children the honor of his having 
filled the highest office in his country's gift : 

To Mary Jefferson Eppes^ Bermuda Hundred. 

Washington, Feb. 15th, 1801. 

Tour letter, my dear Maria, of the 2d instant came to hand 
on the 8th. I should have answered it immediately, accord- 
ing to our arrangement, but that I thought by waiting to 
the llth I might possibly be able to communicate some- 
thing on the subject of the election. However, after four 
days of balloting, they are exactly where they were on the 
first. There is a strong expectation in some that they will 
coalesce to-morrow; but I know no foundation for it. What- 
ever event happens, I think I shall be at Monticello earlier 
than I formerly mentioned to you. I think it more likely I 
may be able to leave this place by the middle of March. I 
hope I shall find you at Monticello. The scene passing here 
makes me pant to be away from it to fly from the circle 
of cabal, intrigue, and hatred^ to one where all is love and 

Though I never doubted of your affections, my dear, yet 
the expressions of them in your letter give me ineffable 
pleasure. No, never imagine that there can be a difference 
with me between yourself and your sister. You have both 
such dispositions as engross my whole love, and each so en- 
tirely that there can be no greater degree of it than each 
possesses. Whatever absences I may be led into for a while, 
I look for happiness to the moment when we can all be set- 
tled together, no more to separate. I feel no impulse from 
personal ambition to the office now proposed to me, but on 
account of yourself and your sister and those dear to you. 
I feel a sincere wish, indeed, to see our Government brought 
back to its republican principles, to see that kind of govern- 


ment firmly fixed to which my whole life has been devoted. 
I hope we shall now see it so established, as that when I re- 
tire it may be under full security that we are to continue 
free and happy. As soon as the fate of election is over, I will 
drop a line to Mr. Eppes. I hope one of you will always 
write the moment you receive a letter from me. Continue 
to love me, my dear, as you ever have done, and ever have 
been and will be by yours, affectionately, 


I give John Eandolph's last dispatch : 

Chamber of the House of Representatives, 

February 17th. 

On the thirty-sixth ballot there appeared this day ten 
States for Thomas Jefferson, four (New England) for A. 
Burr, and two blank ballots (Delaware and South Carolina). 
This was the second time we balloted to-day. The four 
Burrites of Maryland put blanks into the box of that State. 
The vote was therefore unanimous. Mr. Morris, of Ver- 
mont, left his seat, and the result was therefore Jeffersonian. 
Adieu. Tuesday, 2 o'clock P.M. 

J. R., JB. 
I need not add that Mr. J. was declared duly elected. 

In a letter written to his son-in-law, Mr. Randolph, Mr. 
Jefferson says : 

To Thomas Mann Randolph. 

A letter from Mr. Eppes informs me that Maria is in a sit- 
uation which induces them not to risk a journey to Monti- 
cello, so we shall not have the pleasure of meeting them 
there. I begin to hope I may be able to leave this place by 
the middle of March. My tenderest love to my ever dear 
Martha, and kisses to the little one. Accept yourself sincere 
and affectionate salutation. Adieu. 

Mr. Jefferson thought it becoming a Republican that his 
inauguration should be as unostentatious and free from dis- 
play as possible and such it was* An English traveller, 
who was in Washington at the time, thus describes him : 
" His dress was of plain cloth, and he rode on horseback to 


the Capitol without a single guard or even servant in his 
train, dismounted without assistance, and hitched the bridle 
of his horse to the palisades." He was accompanied to the 
Senate Chamber by a number of his friends, when, before 
taking the oath of office, he delivered his Inaugural Address, 
whose chaste and simple beauty is so familiar to the student 
of American History. I can not, however, refrain from giv- 
ing here the eloquent close of this admirable State paper : 

^Extract from Inaugural Address. 

I repair, then, fellow-citizens, to the post you have assign- 
ed me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to 
have seen the difficulties of this, the greatest of all, I have 
learned to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imper- 
fect man to retire from this station with the reputation and 
favor which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that 
high confidence reposed in our first and great Revolutionary 
character, whose pre-eminent services had entitled him to 
the first place in his country's love, and destined for him the 
fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much 
confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal 
administration' of your affairs. I shall often go wrong 
through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be 
thought wrong by those whose positions will not command 
a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for 
my own errors, which will never be intentional ; and your 
support against the errors of others, who may condemn 
what they would not if seen in all its parts. The approba- 
tion implied by your suffrage is a consolation to me for the 
past; and my future solicitude will be to retain the good 
opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance, to concili- 
ate that of others by doing them all the good in my power, 
and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all. 

Relying, then, on the patronage of your good-will, I ad- 
vance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it 
whenever you become sensible how much better choice it 
is in your power to make. And may that Infinite Power 
which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils 
to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your 
peace and prosperity. 


The house at Monticello was still unfinished when Mr. 
Jefferson returned there on a visit early in ApriL A few 
days before he left he wrote the following letter to his kins- 
man, Mr. George Jefferson, which, in an age when nepotism 
is so rife, may, from its principles, seem now rather out of 
date : 

To George Jefferson. 

Dear Sir I have to acknowledge the receipt of yours of 
March 4th, and to express to you the delight with which I 
found the just, disinterested, and honorable point of view in 
which you saw the proposition it covered. The resolution 
you so properly approved had long been formed in my mind. 
The public will never be made to believe that an appoint- 
ment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, un- 
influenced by family views ; nor can they ever see with ap- 
probation offices, the disposal of which they intrust to their 
Presidents for public purposes, divided out as family proper- 
ty. Mr. Adams degraded himself infinitely by his conduct 
on this subject, as General Washington had done himself the 
greatest honor. With two such examples to proceed by, I 
should be doubly inexcusable to err. It is true that this 
places the relations of the President in a worse situation than 
if he were a stranger, but the public good, which can not be 
effected if its confidence be lost, requires this sacrifice. Per- 
haps, too, it is compensated by sharing in the public esteem. 
I could not be satisfied till I assured you of the increased es- 
teem with which this transaction fills me for you. Accept 
my affectionate expressions of it. 

The following letters to Mrs. Eppes will carry on pleas- 
antly the tale of Mr. Jefferson's private life: 

To Mary Jefferson JBppes, Bermuda Hundred. 

MonticeUo, April llth, 1801. 

My dear Maria I wrote to Mr. Eppes on the 8th inst by 
post, to inform him I should on the 12th send off a messen- 
ger to the Hundred for the horses he may have bought for 
. me. Davy Bowles will accordingly set out to-morrow, and 
will be the bearer of this. He leaves us all well, and want- 
ing nothing but your and Mr. Eppes's company to make us 


completely happy. Let hie know by his return when you ex- 
pect to be here, that I may accommodate to that my orders 
as to executing the interior work of the different parts of the 
house. John being at work under Lilly, Goliath is our gar- 
dener, and with his veteran aids will be directed to make 
what preparation he can for you. It is probable I shall 
come home myself about the last week of July or first of 
August, to stay two months during the sickly season in au- 
tumn every year. These terms I shall hope to pass with 
you here, and that either in spring or fall you will be able 
to pass some time with me in Washington. Had it been 
possible,! would have made a tour now, on my return, to see 
you. But I am tied to a day for my return to Washington, 
to assemble our New Administration and begin our work 
systematically. I hope, when you come up, you will make 
very short stages, drive slow and safely, which may well be 
done if you do not permit yourself to be hurried. Surely, 
the sooner you come the better. The servants will be here 
under your commands, and such supplies as the house affords. 
Before that time our bacon will be here from Bedford. Con- 
tinue to love me, my dear Maria, as affectionately as I do 
you. I have no object so near my heart as yours and your 
sister's happiness. Present me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, 
and be assured yourself of my unchangeable and tenderest 
attachment to you. 



The horses alluded to in the above letter were four full- 
blooded bays, which the President wished to purchase for 
the use of his carriage in Washington. Mr. Eppes succeeded 
in making the purchase for him, and his choice was such as 
to suit even such a connoisseur in horse-flesh as Jefferson 
was, to say nothing of his faithful coachman, Joseph Dough- 
erty, who was never so happy as when seated on the box 
behind this spirited and showy team. Their cost was six- 
teen hundred dollars. 

To Mary Jefferson Eppes, Bermuda Hundred. 

Washington, June 24th, 1801. 

My dear Maria According to contract, immediately on 
the receipt of Mr.Eppes's letter of the 12th, I wrote him 


mine of the 17th; and having this moment received yours 
of Jtme 18th, I hasten to reply to that also. I am very anx- 
ious you should hasten your departure for Monticello, but go 
a snail's pace -when you set out. I shall certainly he with 
you the last week of July or first week of August. I have a 
letter from your sister this morning. All are well. They 
have had all their windows, almost, broken by a hail-storm, 
and are unable to procure glass, so that they are living al- 
most out-of-doors. The whole neighborhood suffered equal- 
ly. Two sky-lights at Monticello, which had been left un- 
covered, were entirely broken up. No other windows there 
were broke. I give reason to expect that both yourself and 
your sister will come here in the fall. I hope it myself, and 
our society here is anxious for it. I promise them that one 
of you will hereafter pass the spring here, and the other the 
fall, saving your consent to it. All this must be arranged 
when we meet I am here interrupted ; so, with my affec- 
tionate regards to the family at Eppington, and Mr. Eppes, 
and tenderest love to yourself, I must bid you adieu. 


To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Washington, July 16th, 1801. 

My dear Maria I received yesterday Mr. Eppes's letter of 
the 12th, informing me that you had got safely to Epping- 
ton, and would set out to-morrow at furthest for Monticello. 
This letter, therefore, will, I hope, find you there. I now 
write to Mr. Craven to furnish you all the supplies of the 
table which his farm affords. Mr. Lilly had before received 
orders to do the same. Liquors have been forwarded, and 
have arrived with some loss. I insist that you command 
and use every thing as if I were with you, and shall be very 
uneasy if you do not. A supply of groceries has been lying 
here some time waiting for a conveyance. It will probably 
be three weeks from this time before they can be at Monti- 
cello. In the mean time, take what is wanting from any of 
the stores with which I deal, on my account. I have recom- 
mended to your sister to send at once for Mrs. Marks. Re- 
mus and my chair, with Phill as usual, can go for her. I 
shall join you between the second and seventh more prob- 
ably not till the seventh. Mr. and Mrs. Madison leave this 


about a week hence. I am looking forward with great im- 
patience to the 'moment when we can all be joined at Mon- 
ticello, and hope we shall never again know so long a sepa- 
ration. I recommend to your sister to go over at once to 
Monticello, which I hope she will do. It will be safer for 
her, and more comfortable for both. Present me affection- 
ately to Mr. Eppes, and be assured of my constant aud ten- 

derest love; 


The Mrs. Marks alluded to in this last letter was Mr. Jef- 
ferson's sister. Her husband lived in Lower Virginia, and, 
his means being very limited, he could not afford to send his 
family from home during the sickly season. For a period 
of thirty years Mr. Jefferson never failed to send his carriage 
and horses for her, and kept her for three or four months at 
Monticello, which after her husband's death became her per- 
manent home. Mr. Jefferson left in his will the following 
touching recommendation of her to his daughter;- "I recom- 
mend* to my daughter, Martha Randolph, the maintenance 
and care of my well-beloved sister, Anne Scott, and trust 
confidently that from affection to her, as well as for iny sake, 
she will never let her want a comfort." It is needless to 
add that this trust was faithfully fulfilled, and when Mrs. 
Randolph had no home save her eldest son's house, the same 
roof sheltered Mrs. Marks as well as herself. 

Mr. Jefferson paid his usual visit to Monticello this sum- 
mer, and was there surrounded by his children and grand- 
children. On his return to Washington, he wrote the follow- 
ing letters to Mrs. Eppes, in which the anxiety that he shows 
about her is what might have been expected from the tender 
love of a mother. 

To Mary Jefferson 

Washington, Oct. 26th, 1801. 

My ever dear Maria I have heard nothing of you since 
Mr. Eppes's letter, dated the day se'nnight after I left home. 
The Milton* mail will be here to-morrow morning, when I 

* Milton was a thriving little town four miles from Monticello. 

; TO JOLBr JXFfffflWON JSPPm 281 

shall hope to iteceive something. .In the mean time, this let- 
ter must go hence this evening. I trust it will still find you 
at Monticello, and that possibly Mr. Eppes may have con- 
cluded to take a journey to Bedford, and still further pro- 
longed your stay. I am anxious to hear from you, lest you 
should have suffered in the same way now as on a former 
similar occasion. Should any thing of that kind take place, 
and the remedy which succeeded before fail now, I know no- 
body to whom I would so soon apply as Mrs. Suddarth. A 
little experience is worth a great deal of reading, and she 
has had great experience and a sound judgment to observe 
on it. I shall be glad to hear, at the same time, that the lit- 
tle boy is well. 

If Mr. Eppes undertakes what I have proposed to him at 
Pant ops and Poplar Forest the next year, I should think it 
indispensable that he should make Monticello his head-quar- 
ters. You can be furnished with all plantation articles for 
the family from Mr. Craven, who will be glad to pay his rent 
in that way. It would be a great satisfaction to me to find 
you fixed there in April. Perhaps it might induce me to 
take flying trips by stealth, to have the enjoyment of family 
society for a few days undisturbed. Nothing can repay me 
the loss of that society, the only one founded inaifection and 
bosom confidence. I have here company enough, part of 
which is very friendly, part well enough disposed, part se- 
cretly hostile, and a constant succession of strangers. But 
this only serves to get rid of life, not to enjoy it ; it is in the 
love of one's family only that heartfelt happiness is known. 
I feel it when we are all together, and, when alone, beyond 
what can be imagined. Present me affectionately to Mr. 
Eppes, Mr. Randolph, and my dear Martha, and be assured 

yourself of my tenderest love. 


To Mary Jefferson Jppes. [JBctract.'] 

I perceive that it will be merely accidental when I can 
steal a moment to write to you ; however, that is of no conse- 
quence, my health being always so firm as to leave you with- 
out doubt on that subject. But it is not so with yourself 
and little one. I shall not be easy, therefore, if either your- 
self or Mr. Eppes do not once a week or fortnight write the 


three words "AH are well" That you may be so now, and 
so continue, is the subject of my perpetual anxiety, as my af- 
fections are constantly brooding over you. Heaven bless 
you, ray dear daughter. 

Congress met on the 7th of December. It had been the 
custom for the session to be opened pretty much as the Eng- 
lish Parliament is by the Queen's speech. The President, 
accompanied by a cavalcade, proceeded in state to the Cap- 
itol, took his seat in the Senate Chamber, and, the House of 
Representatives being summoned, read his address. Mr. Jef- 
ferson, on the opening of this session of Congress (1801), 
swept away all these inconvenient forms and ceremonies by 
introducing the custom of the President sending a written' 
message to Congress. Soon after his inauguration he did 
away with levees, and established only two public days for 
the reception of company, the first of January and the 
Fourth of July, when his doors were thrown open to the 
public. He received private calls, whether of courtesy or on 
business, at all other times. 

"We have preserved to us an amusing anecdote of the ef- 
fect of his abolishing levees. Many of the ladies at Wash- 
ington, indignant at being cut off from the pleasure of at- 
tending them, and thinking that their discontinuance was an 
' innovation on former customs, determined to force the Presi- 
dent to hold them. Accordingly, on the usual levee-day 
they 'resorted in full force to the White House. The Presi- 
dent was out taking his habitual ride on horseback. On his 
return, being told that the public rooms were filled with la- 
dies, he at once divined their true motives for coming on 
that day. Without being at all disconcerted, all booted and 
spurred, and still covered with the dust of his ride, he went 
in to receive his fair guests. Never had his reception been 
more graceful or courteous. The ladies, charmed with the 
ease and grace of his manners and address, forgot their in- 
dignation with him, and went away feeling that, of the two 
parties, they had shown most impoliteness in visiting his 
house when not expected. The result of their plot was for 


a long time a subject of mirth among them, and they never 
again attempted to infringe upon the rules of his household. 
The Eeverend Isaac Story having sent him some specula- 
tions on the subject of the transmigration of souls, he sent 
him, on the 5th of December, a reply, from which we take the 
following interesting extract : 

To JRev. Isaac Story. 

The laws of nature have withheld from us the meaning of 
physical knowledge of the country of spirits, and revelation 
has, for reasons unknown to us, chosen to leave us in darkness 
as we were. When I was young, I was fond of speculations 
which seemed to promise some insight into that hidden 
country ; but observing at length that they left me in the 
same ignorance in which they had found me, I have for many 
years ceased to read or think concerning them, and have re- 
posed my head on that , pillow of ignorance which a benevo- 
lent Creator has made so soft for us, knowing how much 
we should be forced to use it. I have thought it better, by 
nourishing the good passions and controlling the bad, to 
merit an inheritance in a state of being of which I can know 
so little, and to trust for the future to Him who has been so 
good for the past. , 

A week or two later he wrote to John Dickinson : " The 
approbation of my ancient friends is, above all things, the 
most grateful to my heart. They know for what objects we 
relinquished the delights of domestic society, tranquillity, 
and science, and committed ourselves to the ocean of revo- 
lution, to wear out the only life God has given us here in 
scenes the benefits of which will accrue only to those who 
follow us." 

Early in the ensuing year he received a letter from his old 
friend Mrs. Cos way, who writes : 

,, From Mrs. Coswa/y. 

Have we no hopes of ever seeing you in Paris ? Would it 
not be a rest to you after your laborious situation? I often 
see the only friend remaining of our set, Madame de Corny, 


the same in "her own amiable qualities, but very different in 
her situation, but she supports it very well. 

I am come to this place in its best time, for the profusion 
of fine things is beyond description, and not possible to con- 
ceive. It is so changed in every respect that you would not 
think it the same country or people. Shall this letter be for- 
tunate enough to get to your hands ? Will it be still more 
fortunate in procuring me an answer? I leave you to reflect 
on the happiness you will afford your ever affectionate and 
sincere friend. 

To Mary Jefferson JSfypes. 

Washington, Mar. 3d, 1802. 

My very dear Maria I observed to you some time ago 
that, during the session of Congress,! should be able to write 
to you but seldom ; and so it has turned out. Yours of Jan. 
, 24 I received in due time, after which Mr. Eppes's letter of 
Feb. 1 and' 2 confirmed to me the news, always welcome, of 
yours and Francis's health. Since this I have no news of 
you. I see with great concern that I am not to have the 
pleasure of meeting you in Albemarle in the spring. I had 
entertained the hope Mr. Eppes and yourself would have 
passed the summer there, and, being there, that the two fam- 
ilies should have come together on a visit here. I observe 
your reluctance at the idea of that visit, but for your own hap- 
piness must advise you to get the better of it. I think I dis- 
cover in you a willingness to withdraw from society more than 
is prudent. I am convinced our own happiness requires that 
we should continue to mix with the world, and to keep pace 
with it as it goes ; and that every person who retires from 
free communication with it is severely punished afterwards 
by the state of mind into which he gets, and which can only 
be prevented by feeding our sociable principles. I can speak 
from experience on this subject. From 1 793 to 1 797 1 remain- 
ed closely at home, saw none but those who came there, and 
at length became very sensible of the ill effect it had on my 
own mind, and of its direct and irresistible tendency to ren- 
der me unfit for society and uneasy whfcn necessarily en- 
gaged in it. I felt enough of the effect of withdrawing from 
the world then to see that it led to an anti-social and misan- 
thropic state of mind, which severely punishes him who gives 


in to it ; and it will be a lesson I never shall forget as to my- 
self. I am certain you would be pleased with the state of 
society here, and that after the first moments you would feel 
happy in having made the experiment. I take for granted 
your sister will come immediately after my spring visit to 
Monticello, and I should have thought it agreeable to both 

that your first visit should be made together. 


Mr. Jefferson made his spring visit to Monticello, and re- 
turned to Washington before the first of June. The follow- 
ing chatty and affectionate letters to his daughter, Mrs. Eppes, 
were written after this visit home. The frequent and touch- 
ing expressions of anxiety about her health found in them 
show its delicate condition. 

To Mary Jefferson JGfapes. {.Extract.] 

Washington, July 1st, 1802. 

It will be infinitely joyful to me to be with you there 
[Monticello] after the longest separation we have had for 
years. I count from one meeting to another as we do be* 
tween port and port at sea; and I long for the moment 
with the same earnestness. Present me affectionately to 
Mr. Eppes, and let me hear from you immediately. Be as- 
sured yourself of my tender and unchangeable affections. 


To Mary Jefferson JEfopes. 

Washington, July 3d, 1802. 

My dear Maria My letter of yesterday had hardly got 
out of my hand when yours of June 21st and Mr. Eppes's of 
the 25th were delivered. I learn with extreme concern the 
state of your health and that of the child, and am happy to 
hear you have got from the Hundred to Eppington, the air- 
of which will aid your convalescence, and will enable you to 
delay your journey to Monticello till you have recovered 
your strength to make the journey safe. 

With respect touthe measles, they began in Mr. Randolph's 
family about the middle of June, and will probably be a 
month getting through the family ; so you had better, when 
you go, pass on direct to Monticello, not calling at EdgehilL 


I will immediately write to your sister, and inform her I ad- 
vised you to this. I have not heard yet of the disease hav- 
ing got to Monticello, but the intercourse with Edgehill be- 
ing hourly, it can not have failed to have gone there imme- 
diately ; and as there are no young children there but Bet's 
and Sally's, and the disease is communicable before a person 
knows they have it, I have no doubt those children have 
passed through it. The children of the plantation, being a 
mile and a half off, can easily be guarded against I will 
write to Monticello, and direct that, should the nail-boys 
or any others have it, they be removed to the plantation in- 
stantly on your arrival. Indeed, none of them but Bet's 
sons stay on the mountain ; and they will be doubtless 
through it. I think, therefore, you may be there in perfect 
security. It had gone through the neighborhood chiefly 
when I was there in May; so that it has probably disappear- 
ed. You should make inquiry on the road before you go 
into any house, as the disease is now universal throughout 
the State, and all the States. 

Present my most friendly attachment to Mr. and Mrs. 
Eppes. Tell the latter I have had her spectacles these six 
months, waiting for a direct conveyance. My best affections 
to Mr. Eppes, if with you, and the family, and tender and 
constant love to yourself. 


P.S. I have always forgotten to answer your apologies 
about Critta, which were very unnecessary. I am happy 
she has' been with you and "useful to you. At Monticello 
there could be nothing for her to do ; so that her being with 
you is exactly as desirable to me as she can be useful to you. 

On the 16th of July he wrote Mrs. Eppes : 

I leave this on the 24th, and shall be in great hopes of re- 
ceiving yourself and Mr. Eppes there (Monticello) immediate- 
ly. I received two days ago his letter of the 8th, in which 
he gives me a poor account of your health, though he says 
you are recruiting. Make very short stages, be off always 
by daylight, and have your day's journey over by ten. In 
this way it is probable you may find the moderate exercise 
of the journey of service to yourself and Francis. Nothing 
is more frequent than to see a child re-established by a jour- 

AT HOME, jETAT. 60. 287 

ney. Present my sincerest. affections to the family at Ep- 
pington and to Mr. Eppes. Tell him the Tory newspapers 
are all attacking his publication, and urging it as a proof 
that Virginia has for object to change the Constitution of 
the United States, and to make it too impotent to curb the 
larger States. Accept yourself assurances of my constant 
and tender love. 

He reached Monticello on the 25th of July, and was there 
joyfully welcomed by his children and grandchildren. He 
was apparently in robust health; but we find that six. months 
before this period, to his intimate friend Dr. Rush, he had 
written: "My health has always been so uniformly firm, that 
I have for some years dreaded nothing so much as the living 
too long. I think, however, that a flaw has appeared which 
insures me against that, without cutting short any of the pe- 
riod during which I could expect to remain capable of being 
useful. It will probably give me as many years as I wish, 
and without pain or debility. Should this be the case, my 
most anxious prayers will have been fulfilled by Heaven. I 
have said as much to no mortal breathingj and my florid 
health is calculated to keep my friends as well as foes quiet, 
as they should be." 

He was at this time in his sixtieth year. 



Returns to Washington. Letters to his Daughters. Meets with a Stranger 
in his daily Ride. Letters to his Daughter. To his young Grandson. 
To his Daughter, Mrs. Randolph. Last Letters to his Daughter, Mrs. 
Eppes. Her Illness. Letter to Mr. Eppes. Goes to Monticello, Death 
of Mrs. Eppes. Account of it hy a Niece. Letter to Page. To Tyler. 
Prom Mrs. Adams. Mr. Jefferson's Reply. Midnight Judges. Let- 
ters to his Son-in-law. 

JEFFERSON returned to Washington on the 5th of Octo- 
ber, and, as will be seen from the following note, was look- 
ing eagerly for the promised visits of his daughters : 

To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Washington, Oct. 7th, 1802. 

My dear Maria I arrived here on the fourth day of my 
journey without accident. On the day and next day after 
my arrival, I was much indisposed with a general soreness 
all over, a ringing in the head, and deafness. It is wearing 
off slowly, and was probably produced by travelling very 
early two mornings in the fog. I have desired Mr. Jefferson 
to ftirnish you with whatever you may call for, 6n my ac- 
count ; and I insist on your calling freely. It never was my 
intention that a visit for my gratification should be at your 
expense. It will be absolutely necessary for me to send 
fresh horses to meet you, as no horses, after the three first 
days' journey, can encounter the fourth, which is hilly be- 
yond any thing you have ever seen. I shall expect to learn 
from you soon the day of your 'departure, that I may make 
proper arrangements. Present me affectionately to Mr. 
Eppes, and accept yourself my tenderest love. 


While President, Jefferson retained his habitual custom of 
taking regular daily exercise. He rarely, to wever, gave his- 
coachman, Joseph, the pleasure of sitting behind the four 
fiery bays ; always preferring his saddle-horse the magnifi- 


cent Wildair being the same which he had ridden to the 
Capitol and "hitched to the palisades," on the day of his in- 
auguration. On his journeys to Monticello he went most 
frequently in his one-horse chair or the phaeton. He never 
failed, as I have elsewhere remarked, no matter what his oc- 
cupation, to devote the hours between one and three in the 
afternoon to exercise, which was most frequently taken on 
horseback. Being very choice in his selection of horses, and 
a bold and fearless rider, he never rode any but an animal 
of the highest mettle and best blood. 


We have from the most authentic source the account of 
an incident which occurred on one of his rides while Presi- 
dent. He was riding along one of the highways leading into 
Washington, when he overtook a man wending his way to- 
wards the city. Jefferson, as was his habit, drew up his 
horse and touched his hat to the pedestrian. The man re- 
turned the salutation, and began a conversation with the 
President not knowing, of course, who he was. He at 
once entered upon the subject of politics as was the habit 
of the day and began to abuse the President, alluding even 
to some of the infamous calumnies against his private life. 
Jefferson's first impulse was to say "good-morning" and 
ride on, but, amused at his own situation, he asked the man 
if he knew the President personally ? " N"o," was the reply, 
" nor do I wish to." " But do you think it fair," asked Jeffer- 
son, " to repeat such stories about a man, and condemn one 
whom you dare not face?" " I will never shrink from meet- 
ing Mr. Jefferson should he ever come in my way," replied 



the stranger, who was a country merchant in high standing 
from Kentucky. " Will you, then, go to his house to-mor- 
row at o'clock and be introduced to him, if I promise to 
meet you there at that hour?" asked Jefferson, eagerly. "Yes, 
I will," said the man, after a moment's thought. With a half- 
suppressed smile, and excusing himself from any further con- 
versation, the President touched his hat and rode on. 

Hardly had Jefferson disappeared from sight before a sus- 
picion of the truth, which he soon verified, flashed through 
the stranger's mind. -He stood fire, however, like a true 
man, and at the appointed hour the next day the card of 

Mr. , " Mr. Jefferson's yesterday's companion," was 

handed to the President. The next moment he was an- 
nounced and entered. His situation was embarrassing, but 
with a gentlemanly bearing, though with some confusion, he 
began, " I have called, Mr. Jefferson, to apologize for hav- 
ing said to a stranger " "Hard things of an imaginary 
being who is no relation of mine," said Jefferson, interrupting 
him, as he gave him his hand, while his countenance was ra- 
diant with a smile of mingled good-nature and amusement. 
The KentucHan once more began his apologies, which Jeffer- 
son good-naturedly laughed off, and, changing the subject, 
had soon captivated his guest by launching forth into one of 
his most delightful strains of animated conversation, which 

so charmed Mr. , that the dinner-hour had arrived before 

he was aware how swiftly the pleasant Hours had flown by. 
He rose to go, when Jefferson urged him to stay to dinner. 

Mr. declined, when Jefferson repeated the invitation, and, 

smiling, asked if he was afraid to meet Mr. , a Republican. 

"Don't mention him," said the other, "and I will stay." 

It is needless to add that this Kentuckian remained ever 
afterwards firmly attached to Jefferson: his whole family 
became his staunch supporters, and the gentleman himself, in 
telling the story, would wind up with a jesting caution to 
young men against talking too freely with strangers. * 

The following letters were written to Mrs. Eppes, after her 
return to Virginia from a visit to Washington : 


To Mary Jefferson Eppes. 

Washington, Jan. 18th, 1803. 

My dear Maria Yours by John came safely to hand, and 
informed me of your ultimate arrival at Edgehill. Mr. Ran- 
dolph's letter from Gordon's, received the night "before, gave 
me the first certain intelligence I had received since your 
departure. A rumor had come here of your having been 
stopped two or three days at Ball Run, and in a miserable 
hovel ; so that I had passed ten days in anxious uncertainty 
about you. Your apologies, my dear Maria, on the article 
of expense, are quite without necessity. You did not here in- 
dulge yourselves as much as I wished, and nothing prevent- 
ed my supplying your backwardness but my total ignorance 
in articles which might suit you. Mr. Eppes's election [to 
Congress] will, I am in hopes, secure me your company next 
winter, and perhaps you may find it convenient to accom- 
pany your sister in the spring. Mr. Giles's aid, indeed, in 
Congress, in support of our Administration, considering his 
long knowledge of the affairs of the Union, his talents, and 
the high ground on which he stands through the United 
States, had rendered his continuance here an object of anxr 
ious desire to those who compose the Administration; but 
every information we receive states that prospect to be des- 
,perate from his ill health, and will relieve me from the im- 
putation of being willing to lose to the public so strong a 
supporter, for the personal gratification of having yourself 
and Mr. Eppes with me. I inclose you Lemaire's receipts. 
The orthography will be puzzling and amusing ; but the re- 
ceipts are valuable. Present my tender love to your sister, 
.kisses to the young ones, and my affections to Mr. Randolph 
and Mr. Eppes, whom I suppose you will see soon. Be as- 
sured of my unceasing and anxious love for yourself. 


The following playfully-written note was sent to his young 
grandson : 

To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. 

Washington, Feb. 21st, 1803. 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3d, 
my dear Jefferson, and to congratulate you on your wilting 
so good a hand. By the last post I sent you a French Gram- 


mar, and within three weeks I shall be able to ask you, "Par- 
lez vous Franais, monsieur ?" I expect to leave this about 
the 9th, if unexpected business should not detain me, and 
then it will depend on the weather and the roads how long I 
shall be going probably five days. The roads will be so 
deep that I can not flatter myself with catching Ellen in bed. 
Tell her that Mrs. Harrison Smith desires her compliments 
to her. Tour mamma has probably heard of the death of 
Mrs. Burrows. Mrs. Brent is not far from it. Present my 
affections to your papa, mamma, and the young ones, and be 

assured of them yourself. 


In a letter written to a friend in the winter of this year 
(1803) he thus alludes to his health: "I retain myself very 
perfect health, having not had twenty hours of fever in 'for- 
ty-two years past. I have sometimes had a troublesome 
headache and some slight rheumatic pains ; but, now sixty 
years old nearly,! have had as little to complain of in point 
of health as most people." 

We have in the following letter one of the very few allu- 
sions to his religion which he ever made to any of his family : 

To Martha Jefferson Randolph. 

Washington, April 25th, 1803. 

My dear Martha A promise made to a friend some years 
ago, but executed only lately, has placed my religious creed 
on paper. I have thought it just that my family, by possess- 
ing this, should be enabled to estimate the libels published 
against me on this, as on every other possible subject. I 
have written to Philadelphia for Dr. Priestley's history of 
the corruptions of Christianity, which I will send you and 
recommend to an attentive perusal, because it establishes 
the ground-work of my view of this subject. 

I have not had a line from Monticello or Edgehill since I 
parted with you. Peter Carr and Mrs. Carr, who staid with 
me five or six days, told me Cornelia had got happily through 
her measles, and that Ellen had not taken them. But what 
has become of Anne ?* I thought I had her promise to write 
once a week, at least the words "All's well." 

* This little grand-daughter was now twelve years old. 


It is now time for you to let me know when you expect to 
be able to set out for Washington, and whether your own 
carriage can bring you half-way. I think my Chickasaws, if 
drove moderately, will bring you well that far. Mr. Lilly 
knows you will want them, and can add a fourth. I think 
that by changing horses half-way you will come with more 
comfort. I have no gentleman to send for your escort. Find- 
ing here a beautiful blue cassimere, water-proof, and think- 
ing it will be particularly d propos for Mr. Randolph as a 
travelling-coat for his journey, I have taken enough for that 
purpose, and will send it to Mr. Benson, postmaster at Fred- 
ericksburg, to be forwarded by Abrahams, and hope it will 
be received in time. 

Mr. and Mrs. Madison will set out for Orange about the 
last day of the month. They will stay there but a week. I 
write to Maria to-day ; but supposing her to be at the Hun- 
dred, according to what she told me of her movements, I send 
my letter there. I wish you to come as early as possible ; be- 
cause, though the members of the Government remain here 
to the last week in July, yet the sickly season commences, 
in fact, by the middle of that month, and it would not be 
safe for you to keep the children here longer than that, lest 
any one of them, being taken sick early, might detain the 
whole here till the season of general danger, and perhaps 
through it. Kiss the children for me. Present me affec- 
tionately to Mr. Randolph, and accept yourself assurances of 
my constant and tenderest love. 


The following extract from a letter written December 1st, 
1804, to John Randolph by Jetferson, shows how little of a 
politician the latter was in his own family, and how careful 
he was not to try and influence the political opinions of those 
connected with him : 

To John Randolph. 

I am aware that in parts of the Union, and even with per- 
sons to whom Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph are unknown, 
and myself little known, it will be presumed, from their con- 
nection, that what comes from them comes from me. No 
men on earth are more independent in their sentiments than 


they are, nor any one less disposed than I am to influence 
the opinions of others. We rarely speak of politics, or of 
the proceedings of the House, but merely historically, and I 
carefully avoid expressing an opinion on them in their pres- 
ence, that we may all be at our ease. With other members, 
I have believed that more unreserved communications would 
be advantageous to the public. 

I give now Jefferson's letters to Mrs. Eppes, scattered over 
a period of several months. They possess unusual interest, 
from the fact that they are the last written by this devoted 
father to his lovely daughter. Mrs. Eppes being in extreme- 
ly delicate health, and her husband having to be in Washing- 
ton as a member of Congress, she early in the fall repaired 
to Edgehill, there to spend the winter with her sister,- Mrs, 
Randolph Mr. Randolph also being a member of Congress, 

To Mary Jefferson 

Washington, Nov. 27th, 1803. 

It is rare, my ever dear Maria, during a session of Con- 
gress, that I can get time to write any thing but letters of 
business, and this, though a day of rest to others, is not all 
so to me. We are all well here, and hope the post of this 
evening will bring us information of the health of all at 
Edgehill, and particularly that Martha and the new bantling* 
are both well, and that her example gives you good spirits. 
When Congress will rise no mortal can tell not from the 
quantity but dilatoriness of business. 

Mr. Lilly having finished the mill, is now, I suppose, en- 
gaged in the road which we have been so long wanting ; and 
that done, the next job will be the levelling of Pantops. I 
anxiously long to see under way the work necessary to fix 
you there, that we may 'one day be all together, Mr. Stew- 
art is now here on his way back to his family, whom he will 
probably join Thursday or Friday. Will you tell^your sis- 
ter that the pair of stockings she sent me by Mr. Randolph 
are quite large- enough, and also have fur enough in them. 
I inclose some papers for Anne ; and must continue in debt 
to Jefferson a letter for a while longer. Take care of your- 

* Mrs, Randolph's sixth child. 


self, my dearest Maria, have good spirits, and know that 
courage is as essential to triumph in your case as in that 
of a soldier. Keep us all, therefore, in heart of being so 
yourself. Give my tender affections to your sister,, and re- 
ceive them for yourself also, with assurances that I live in 
your love only .and in that of your sister. Adieu, my dear 



To Mary Jefferson jEppes, Edgehill. 

Washington, Dec. 26th, 1803. 

I now return, my dearest Maria, the paper which you lent 
me for Mr. Page, and which he has returned some days since. 
I have prevailed on Dr. Priestley to undertake the work, of 
which this is only the syllabus or plan. He says he can ac- 
complish it in the course of a year. But, in truth, his health 
is so much impaired, and his body become so feeble, that 
there is reason to fear he will not live out even the short 
term he has asked for it. 

You may inform Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph that no 
mail arrived the last night from Natchez. I presume the 
great rains which have fallen have rendered some of the 
water-courses impassable. On New-year's-day, however, we 
shall hear of the delivery of New Orleans* to us ! Till then 
the Legislature seem disposed to do nothing but meet and 

Mrs. Livingston, formerly the younger Miss Allen, made 
kind inquiries after you the other day. She said she was at 
school with you at Mrs. Pine's. Not knowing the time des- 
tined for your expected indisposition, I am anxious on your 
account. You are prepared to meet it with courage, I hope. 
Some female friend of your mamma's (I forget whom) used 
to say it was no more than a jog of the elbow. The mate- 
rial thing is to have scientific aid in readiness, that if any 
thing uncommon takes place it may be redressed on the 
spot, and not be made serious by delay. It is a case which 
least of all will wait for doctors to be sent for ; therefore with 
this single precaution nothing is ever to be feared. I was in 

* The reader will remember that the purchase of Louisiana was made in 
Jefferson's administration. 


hopes to have heard from Edgehill last night, but I suppose 
your post has failed. 

I shall expect to see the gentlemen here next Sunday 
night to take part in the gala of Monday. Give my teiider- 
est love to your sister, of whom I have not heard for a fort- 
night, and my affectionate salutations to the gentlemen and 
young ones, and continue to love me yourself, and be assured 

of my warmest affections. 


To Mary Jefferson Eppes, MgeMU. 

Washington, Jan. 29th, 1804:. 

My dearest Maria This evening ought to have brought 
in the Western mail, but it is not arrived; consequently we 
hear nothing from our neighborhood. I rejoice that this is 
the last time our Milton mail will be embarrassed with that 
from New Orleans, the rapidity of which occasioned our 
letters often to be left in the post-office. It now returns to 
its former establishment of twice a week^ so that we may 
hear oftener from you; and, in communicating to us fre- 
quently of the state of things, I hope you will not be spar- 
ing, if it be only by saying that "All is well !" 

I think Congress will rise the second week in March, when 
we shall join you ; perhaps Mr. Eppes may sooner. On this 
I presume he writes you. It would have been the most de- 
sirable of all things could we have got away by this time. 
However, I hope you will let us all see that you have with- 
in yourself the resource of a courage not requiring the pres- 
ence of any body. 

Sinc$ proposing to Anne the undertaking to raise ban- 
tams, I have received from Algiers two pair of beautiful 
fowls, something larger than our common fowls, with fine 
aigrettes. They are not so large nor valuable as the East 
India fowl, but both kinds, as well as the bantams, are well 
worthy of being raised. "We must, therefore, distribute them 
among us, and raise them clear of mixture of any kind. All 
this we will settle together in March, and soon after we will 
begin the levelling and establishing of your hen-house at 
Pantops. Give my tenderest love to your sister, to all the 
young ones kisses, to yourself, every thing affectionate. 



To Mary Jefferson Hjppes, EdgehiU. 

Washington, Feb. 26th, 1804. 

A thousand joys to you, my dear Maria, on the happy ac- 
cession to your family. A letter from our dear Martha by 
last post gave me the happy news that your crisis was Mp- 
pily. over, and all well I had supposed that if you were a 
little later than your calculation, .and the rising of Congress 
as early as we expected, we might have been with you at 
the moment when it would have been so encouraging to 
have had your friends 'around you. I rejoice, indeed, that 
all is so well. 

Congress talk of rising the 12th of March; but they will 
probably be some days later. You wilT doubtless see Mr. 
Eppes and Mr. Randolph immediately on the rising of Con- 
gress. I shall hardly be able to get away till some days 
after them. By that time I hope you will be able to go 
with us to Monticello, and that we shall all be there togeth- 
er for a month; and the interval between that and the au- 
tumnal visit will not be long. Will you desire your sister 
to send for Mr. Lilly, and to advise him what orders to give 
Goliath for providing those vegetables which may come into 
use for the months of April, August, and September ? Deliv- 
er her also my affectionate love. I will write to her the next 
week. Kiss all the little ones, and be assured yourself of my 
tender and unchangeable affection. 


The relief of Mr. Jefferson's anxieties concerning his 
daughter's health was of but short duration. Shortly after 
writing the preceding letter, he received intelligence of her 
being dangerously ill. It is touching to see, in his letters, 
his increasing tenderness for her as her situation became 
more critical ; and we find him chafing with impatience at 
being prevented by official duties from flying at once to her 
side on hearing of her illness. 

To Mary Jefferson XJppes. 

Washington, Mar. 3d, 1804. 
The account of your illness, my dearest Maria, was known 


to me only this morning. Nothing but the impossibility of 
Congress proceeding a single step in my absence presents an 
insuperable bar. Mr. Eppes goes off, and I hope will find 
you in a convalescent state. Next to the desire that it may 
be so, is that of being speedily informed, and of being re- 
lieyed from the terrible anxiety in which I shall be till I 
hear from you. God bless you, my ever dear daughter, and 
preserve you safe to the blessing of us all. 


The news of Mrs. Eppes's convalescence revived her fa- 
ther's hopes about her health, and we find him writing, in 
the following letter to Mr. Eppes, about settling him at Pan- 
tops (one of his farms a few miles from Monticello), in the 
fond anticipation of thus fixing his daughter near him for 

To John W. Eppes, MgehiU. - 

Washington, March 15th, 1804. 

Dear Sir Your letter of the 9th has at length relieved my 
spirits; still the debility of Maria will need attention, lest a 
recurrence of fever should degenerate into typhus. I should 
suppose the system of wine and food as effectual to prevent 
as to cure that fever, and think she should use both as freely 
as she finds she can bear them light food and cordial wines. 
The sherry at Monticello is old and genuine, and the Pedro 
Ximenes much older still, and stomachic. Her palate and 
stomach will be the best arbiters between them. 

Congress have deferred their adjournment a week, to wit, 
to the 26th; consequently we return a week later. I pre- 
sume I can be with you by the first of April. I hope Maria 
will by that time be well enough to go over to Monticello 
with us, and I hope you will thereafter take up your resi- 
dence there. The house, its contents, and appendages and 
servants, are as freely subjected to you as to myself and I 
hope you will make it your home till we can get you fixed 
at Pantops. I do not think Maria should be ventured below 
after this date. I will endeavor to forward to Mr. Benson, 
postmaster at Fredericksburg, a small parcel of the oats for 
you. The only difficulty is to find some gentleman going on 
in the stage who will take charge of -them by the way. My 


tenderest love to Maria and Patsy, and all the young ones. 

Affectionate salutations to yourself 


Jefferson reached* Monticello early in April, where his 
great and tender heart was to be wrung by the severest af- 
fliction which can befall a parent the loss of a well-beloved 
child. Mrs. Eppes's decline was rapid ; and the following 
line in her father's handwriting, in his family register, tells 
its own sad tale: 

" MARY JEFFERSON, lorn Aug. 1, 1778, 1A. 30m. A.M. Died April 17, 
1804, between 8 and 9 A.M." 

The following beautiful account of the closing scenes of 
this domestic tragedy is from the pen of a niece of Mrs. 
Eppes, and was written at the request of Mr. Randall, Jef- 
ferson's worthy biographer : 

Boston, 15th January, 1856. 

My dear Mr. Randall I find an old memorandum made 
many years ago, I know not when nor under what circum- 
stances, but by my own hand, in the fly-leaf of a Bible, It 
is to this effect : 

"Maria Jefferson was born in 1778, and married, in 1797, John Wayles 
Eppes, son of Francis Eppes and Elizabeth Wayles, second daughter of John 
Wayles. Maria Jefferson died April, 1804, leaving two children, Francis, 
born in 1801, and Maria, who died an infant." 

I have no recollection of the time when I made this mem- 
orandum, but I have no doubt of its accuracy. 

Mrs. Eppes was never well after the birth of her last child. 
She lingered a while, but never recovered. My grandfather 
was in Washington, and my aunt passed the winter at Edge- 
hill, where she was confined. I remember the tender and 
devoted care of my mother, how she watched over her sister, 
and with what anxious affection she anticipated her every 
want. I remember, at one time, that she left her chamber 
and her own infant, that she might sleep in my aunt's room, 
to assist in taking care of her and her child. I well recollect 
my poor aunt's pale, faded, and feeble look. My grandfather, 
during his Presidency, made two visits every year to Monti- 
cello a short one in early spring, and a longer one the latter 


part of the summer. He always stopped at Edgehill, where 
my mother was then living, to take her and her whole fami- 
ly to Monticello with him. He came this year as usual, anx- 
ious about the health of his youngest daughter, whose situa- 
tion, though such as to excite the apprehensions of her friends, 
was not deemed one of immediate danger. She had been 
delicate, and something of an invalid, if I remember right, for 
some years. She was carried to Monticello in a litter borne 
by men. The distance was perhaps four miles, and she bore 
the removal welL After this, however, she continued, as be- 
fore, steadily to decline. She was taken out when the weath- 
er permitted, and carried around the lawn in a carriage, I 
think drawn by men, and I remember following the carriage 
over the smooth green tur How long she lived I do not 
recollect, but it could have been but a short time. 

One morning I heard that my aunt was dying. I crept 
softly from my nursery to her chamber door, and, being 
alarmed by her short, hard breathing, ran away again. I 
have a distinct recollection of confusion and dismay in the 
household. I did not see my mother. By-and-by one of 
the female servants came running in where I was, with other- 
persons, to say that Mrs. Eppes was dead. The day passed I 
do not know how. Late in the afternoon I was taken to the 
death-chamber. The body was covered with a white cloth, 
over which had been strewed a profusion of flowers. A day 
or two after I followed the coffin to the burying-ground on 
the mountain-side, and saw it consigned to the earth, where 
it has lain undisturbed for more than fifty years. 

My mother has told me that on the day of her sister's 
death she left her father alone for some hours. He then 
sent for her, and she found him with the Bible in his hands. 
He who has been so often and so harshly accused of unbe- 
lief he, in his hour of intense affliction, sought and found 
consolation in the Sacred Volume. The Comforter was 
there for his true heart and devout spirit, even though his 
faith might not be what the world calls orthodox. 

There was something very touching in the sight of this 
once beautiful and still lovely young woman, fading away 
just as the spring was coming on with its buds and blossoms 
nature reviving as she was sinking, and closing her eyes on 
all that she loved best in life. She perished, not in autumn 


with the flowers, but as they were opening to the sun and air 
in all the freshness of spring. I think the weather was fine, 
for over my own recollections of these times there is a soft 
dreamy sort of haze, such as wraps the earth in warm dewy 

You know enough of my aunt's early history to be aware 
that she did not accompany her father, as my mother did, 
when he first went to France. She joined him, I think, only 
about two years before his return, and was placed in the same 
convent where -my mother received her education. Here 
she went by the name of Mademoiselle Potie. As a child, 
she was called Polly by her friends. It was on her way to 
Paris that she staid a while in London with Mrs. Adams, and 
there is a pleasing mention of her in that lady's published 

I think the visit (not a very long one) made by my moth- 
er and aunt to their father in Washington must have been 
in the winter of 1 802-'3. My aunt, I believe, was never there 
again; but after her death, about the winter of 1805-'6, my 
mother, with all her children, passed some time at the Presi- 
'dent's house. I remember that both my father and uncle 
Eppes were then in Congress, but can not say whether this 
was the case in 1802-'3. 

My aunt, Mrs. Eppes, was singularly beautiful. She was 
high-principled, just, and generous. Her temper, naturally 
mild, became, I think, saddened by ill health in the latter 
part of her life. In that respect she differed from my moth- 
er, whose disposition seemed to have the sunshine of heaven 
in it. Nothing ever wearied my mother's patience, or ex- 
hausted, what was inexhaustible, her sweetness, her kindness, 
indulgence, and self-deyotion. She was intellectually some- 
what superior to her sister, who was sensible of the differ- 
ence, though she was of too noble a nature for her feelings 
ever to assume an ignoble character. There was between 
the sisters the strongest and warmest attachment, the most 
perfect confidence and affection. 

My aunt utterly undervalued and disregarded her own 
beauty, remarkable as it was. She was never fond of dress 
or ornament, and was always careless of admiration. She 
was even vexed by allusions to her beauty, saying that peo- 
ple only praised her for that because they could not praise 


her for "better things. If my mother inadvertently exclaim- 
ed, half sportively, " Maria, if I only had your beauty," my 
aunt would resent it as far as she could resent any thing 
said or done by her sister. 

It may be said that the extraordinary value she attached 
to talent was mainly founded in her idea that by the pos- 
session of it she would become a more suitable companion 
for her father. Both daughters considered his affection as 
the great good of their li veS, and both loved him with all the 
devotion of their most loving hearts. My aunt sometimes 
mourned over the fear that her father must prefer her sister's 
society, and could not take the same pleasure in hers. This 
very humility in one so lovely was a charm the more in her 
character. She was greatly loved and esteemed by all her 
friends. She was on a footing of the most intimate friend- 
ship with my father's sister, Mrs. T. Eston Randolph, herself 
a most exemplary and admirable woman, whose daughter, 
long years after, married Francis, Mrs. Eppes's son. 

I know not, ray dear Mr. Randall, whether this letter will 
add any thing to the knowledge you already possess of this 
one of my grandfather's family. Should it not, you must' 
take the will for the deed, and as I am somewhat wearied by 
the rapidity with which I have written, in order to avoid 
delay, I will bid you adieu, with my very best wishes for 
your entire success in your arduous undertaking* 
Very truly yours 


How heart-rending the death of this "ever dear daugh- 
ter" was to Jefferson, may be judged from the following 
touching and beautiful letter, written by him two months 
after the sad event, in reply to one of condolence from his 
old and constant friend, Governor Page : 

To Governor Page. 

Tour letter, my dear friend, of the 25th ultimo, is a new 
proof of the goodness of your heart, and the part you take 
in my loss marks an affectionate concern for the greatness 
of it. It is great indeed. Others may lose of their abun- 
dance, but I, of my want, have lost even the half of all I had. 


My evening prospects now hang on the slender thread of a 
single life. Perhaps I may be destined to see even this last 
cord of parental affection broken 1 The hope with which I 
had looked forward to the moment when, resigning public 
cares to younger hands, I was to retire to that domestic 
comfort from which the last great step is to be taken,* is 
fearfully blighted. 

When you and I look back on the country over which 
we have passed, what a field of slaughter does it exhibit ! 
Where -are all the friends who entered it with us, under all 
the inspiring energies of health and hope ? As if pursued by 
the havoc of war, they are strewed by the way, some earlier, 
some later, and scarce a few stragglers * remain to count the 
numbers fallen, and to mark yet, by their own fall, the last 
footsteps of their party. Is it a desirable thing to bear up 
through the heat of action, to witness the death of all our 
companions, and merely be the last victim? I doubt it. 
We have, however, the traveller's consolation. Every step 
shortens the distance we have to go ; the end of our journey 
is in sight the bed wherein we are to rest, and to rise in the 
midst of the friends we have lost ! " We sorrow not, then, 
as others who have no hope;" but look forward to the day 
which joins us to the great majority. 

But whatever is to be our destiny, wisdom, as well as 
duty, dictates that we should acquiesce in the will of Him 
whose it is to give and take away, and be contented in the 
enjoyment of those who are still permitted to be with us. 
Of those connected by blood, the number does not depend 
on us. But friends we have if we have merited them. 
Those of our earliest years stand nearest in our affections. 
But in this, too, you and I have been unlucky. Of our col- 
lege friends (and they are the dearest) how few have stood 
with us in the great political questions which have agitated 
our country : and these were of a nature to justify agitation. 
I did not believe the Lilliputian fetters of that day strong 
enough to have bound so many. 

Will not Mrs. Page, yourself, and family, think it prudent 
to seek a healthier region for the months of August and Sep- 
tember? And may we not flatter ourselves that you will 
cast your eye on Monticello ? We have not many summers 
to live. While fortune places us, then, within striking dis- 


<tance, let us avail ourselves of it, to meet and talk over the 
tales of other times. 

He also wrote to Judge Tyler: 

I lament to learn that a like misfortune has enabled you 
to estimate the afflictions of a father on the loss of a beloved 
child. However terrible the possibility of such another ac- 
cident, it is still a blessing for you of inestimable value that 
you would not even then descend childless to the grave. 
Three sons, and hopeful ones too, -are a rich treasure. I re- 
joice when I hear of young men of virtue and talents, wor- 
thy to receive, and likely to preserve, the splendid inherit- 
ance of self-government which we have acquired and shaped 
for them. 

Among the many letters of condolence which poured in 

upon Mr. Jefferson from all quarters on this sad occasion, 

was the following very characteristic one from Mrs. Adams. 

. It shows in the writer a strange mixture of kind feeling, 

goodness of heart, and a proud, unforgiving spirit. 

From Mrs. Adams. 

Quincy, 20th May, 1804. 

Sir Had you been no other than the private inhabitant 
of Monticello, I should, ere this time, have addressed you 
with that sympathy which a recent event has awakened in 
my bosom ; but reasons of various kinds withheld my pen, 
until the powerful feelings of my heart burst through the 
restraint, and called upon me to shed the tear of sorrow over 
the departed remains of your beloved and deserving daugh- 
ter an event which I most sincerely mourn. The attach- 
ment which I formed for her when you committed her to 
my care upon her arrival in a foreign land, under circum- 
stances peculiarly interesting, has remained with me to this 
hour; and the account of her death, which I read in a late 
paper, recalled to my recollection the tender scene of her 
separation from me, when, with the strongest sensibility, she 
clung around my neck, and wet my bo&om with her tears, 
saying, " Oh, now I have learned to love you, why will they 
take me from you ?" 


It has "been some time since I conceived that any event in 
this life could call forth feelings of mutual sympathy. But 
I know how closely entwined around a parent's are those 
cords which bind the parental to the filial bosom, and, when 
snapped asunder, how agonizing the pangs. I have tasted 
of the bitter cup, and bow with reverence and submission be- 
fore the great Dispenser of it, without whose permission and 
overruling providence not a sparrow falls to the ground. 
That you may derive comfort and consolation, in this day of 
your sorrow and affliction, from that only source calculated to 
heal the broken heart, a firm belief in the being, perfections, 
and attributes of God, is the sincere and ardent wish of her 
who once took pleasure in subscribing herself your friend. 


To this letter Mr. Jefferson replied as follows : * 

To Mrs. Adams. 

Washington, June 13th, 1804. 

Dear Madam The affectionate sentiments which you have 
had the goodness to express, in your letter of May the 20th, 
towards my dear departed daughter have awakened in me 
sensibilities natural to the occasion, and recalled your kind- 
nesses to her, which I shall ever remember with gratitude 
and friendship. I can assure you with truth, they had made 
an indelible impression on her mind, and that to the last, on 
our meetings after long separations, whether I had heard 
lately of you, and how you did, were among the earliest of 
her inquiries. In giving you this assurance, I perform a sa- 
cred duty for her, and, at the same time, am thankful for the 
occasion furnished me of expressing my regret that circum- 
stances should have arisen which have seemed to draw a 
line of separation between us. The friendship with which 
you honored me has ever been valued and fully recipro- 
cated ; and although events have been passing which might 
be trying to some minds, I never believed yours to be of 
that kind, nor felt that my own was. Neither my estimate 
of your character, nor the esteem founded in that, has ever 
been lessened for a single moment, although doubts whether 

* The original of this letter is now in the possession of Jefferson's grand- 
son, Colonel Jefferson Randolph. 



it would be acceptable may have forbidden manifestations 
of it. 

Mr. Adams's friendship and mine began at an earlier date. 
It accompanied us through long and important scenes. The 
different conclusions we had drawn from our political read- 
ing and reflections were not permitted to lessen personal es- 
teemeach party being conscious they were the result of 'an 
honest conviction in the other. Like differences of opinion 
among our fellow-citizens attached them to one or the other 
of us, and produced a rivalship in their minds which did not 
exist in ours. We never stood in one another's way ; but if 
either had been withdrawn at any time, his favorers would 
not have gone over to the other, but would have sought for 
some one of homogeneous opinions. This consideration was 
sufficient to keep down all jealousy between us, and to guard 
our friendship from any disturbance by sentiments of rival- 
ship ; and I can say with truth, that one act of Mr. Adams's 
life, and one only, ever gave me a moment's personal displeas- 
ure. I did consider his last appointments to office as person- 
ally unkind. They were from among my most ardent politi- 
cal enemies, from whom no faithful co-operation could ever 
be expected ; and laid me under the embarrassment of acting 
through men whose views were to defeat mine, or to encoun- 
ter the odium of putting others in their places. It seems but 
common justice to leave a successor free to act by instru- 
ments of his own choice. If my respect for him did not per- 
mit me to ascribe the whole blame to the influence of oth- 
ers, it left something for friendship to forgive ; and after 
brooding over it for some little time, and not always resist- 
ing the expression of it, I forgave it cordially, and returned 
to the same state of esteem and respect for him which had 
so long subsisted. 

Having come into life a little later than Mr. Adams, his ca- 
reer has preceded mine, as mine is followed by some other ; 
and it will probably be closed at the same distance after him 
which time originally placed between us. I maintain for 
him, and shall carry into private life, an uniform and high 
measure of respect and good-will, and for yourself a sincere 

I have thus, my dear madam, opened myself to you with- 
out reserve, which I have long wished an opportunity of do- 


ing ; and without knowing how it will be received, I feel re- 
lief from being unbosomed. And I have now only to en- 
treat your forgiveness for this transition from a subject of 
domestic affliction to one which seems of a different aspect. 
But though connected with' political events, it 'has been 
viewed by me most strongly in its unfortunate bearings on 
my private friendships. The injury these have sustained 
has been a heavy price for what has never given me equal 
pleasure. That you may both be favored with health, tran- 
quillity, and long life, is the prayer of one who tenders you 
the assurance of his highest consideration and esteem. 

Several other letters were exchanged by Jefferson and 
Mrs. Adams, and explanations followed, which did not, how- 
ever, result at the time in restoring friendly intercourse be- 
tween them, that not being resumed until some years later.* 
Mrs. Adams, it seemed, was offended with him because, in 
making appointments to fill certain Federal offices in Boston, 
her son, who held one of these offices, was not reappointed. 
Jefferson did not know, when he made the appointments, that 
young Adams held the office, and gave Mrs. Adams an assur- 
ance to that effect in one of the letters alluded to above, but' 
she seems not to have accepted the explanation. 

The history of the midnight judges referred to in Jeffer- 
son's first letter to Mrs. Adams was briefly this : Just at 
the close of Adams's Administration a law was hurried 
through Congress by the Federalists^ increasing the number 
of United States Courts throughout the States. At that 
time twelve o'clock on the night of the 3d of March was the 
magical 'hour when one Administration passed out and the 
other came in. The law was passed at such a late hour, that, 
though the appointments for the new judgeships created by 
it had been previously selected, yet the commissions had not 
been issued from the Department of State. Chief-justice 
Marshall, who was then acting as Secretary of State, was 
busily engaged filling out these commissions, that the offices 
might be filled with Federal appointments while the outgo- 

* See pages 352, 353. 


ing Administration was still in power. The whole proceed- 
ing was known to Jefferson. He considered the law uncon- 
stitutional, and acted in the premises with his usual boldness 
and decision. Having chosen Levi Lincoln as his Attorney 
General, he gave him his watch, and ordered him to go at 
midnight and take possession of the State Department, and 
not allow a single paper to be removed from it after that 

Mr. Lincoln accordingly entered Judge Marshall's office 
at the appointed time. " I have been ordered by Mr. Jeffer- 
son," he said to the Judge, " to take possession of this office 
and its papers." " Why, Mr. Jefferson has not yet quali- 
fied," exclaimed the astonished Chief-justice, " Mr. Jeffer- 
son considers himself in the light of an executor, bound to 
take charge of the papers of the Government until he is duly 
qualified," was the reply. " But it is not yet twelve o'clock," 
said Judge Marshall, taking out his watch. Mr. Lincoln 
pulled out his, and, showing it to him, said, " This is the Pres- 
ident's watch, and rules the hour." 

Judge Marshall could make no appeal from this, and was 
forced to retire, casting a farewell look upon the commissions 
lying" on the table before him. In after years he used to 
laugh, and say he had been allowed to pick up nothing but 
his hat. He had, however, one or two of the commissions 
in his pocket, and the gentlemen who received them were 
called thereafter " John Adams's midnight judges." 

In his message to Congress some months later, Jefferson 
demonstrated that, so far from requiring an increased num- 
ber of courts, there was not work enough for those already 

To John W. JEfapes. 

Monticello, August 7th, 1804. 

Dear SirTour letters of July 16th and 29th both came 
to me on the 2d instant. I receive with great delight the 
information of the perfect health of our dear infants, and 
hope to see yourself, the family and them, as soon as circum- 
stances admit. With respect to Melinda, I have too many 


already to leave here in idleness when I go away ; and at 
Washington I prefer white servants, who, when they misbe- 
have, can be exchanged. John knew he was not to expect 
her society but when he should be at Monticello, and then 
subject to the casualty of her being here or not. You men- 
tion a horse to be had of a fine bay ; and again, that he is 
of the color of your horse. I do not well recollect the shade 
of yours ; but if you think this one would do with Castor or 
Fitzpartner, I would take him at the price you mention, but 
should be glad to have as much breadth for the payment as 
the seller could admit, and at any rate not less than ninety 
days. I know no finer horse than yours, but he is much too 
fiery to be trusted in a carriage the only use I have for him 
while Arcturus remains. He is also too small. I write 
this letter in the hope you will be here before you can re- 
ceive it, but on the possibility that the cause which detain- 
ed you at the date of yours may continue. My affectionate 
salutations and esteem attend the family at Eppington and 


P.S. By your mentioning that Francis will be your con- 
stant companion, I am' in hopes I shall have him here with 
you during the session of Congress. 



Renominated as President Letter to Mazzei. Slanders against Jefferson. 
Sad Visit to Monticello. Second Inauguration. Receives the Bust of 
the Emperor of Russia. Letters to and from the Emperor. To Diodati. 
To Dickinson. To his Son-in-law. Devotion to his Grandchildren. 
Letter to Monroe. To his Grandchildren. His Temper when roused. 
Letter to Charles Thompson. To Dr. Logan. Anxious to avoid a Puhlic 
Reception on his Return home. Letter to Dupont de Nemours. Inaugu- 
ration of Madison. Harmony in Jefferson's Cabinet. Letter to Humboldt. 
Farewell Address from the Legislature of Virginia. His Reply. Reply 
to an Address of Welcome from the Citizens of Albemarle. Letter to 
Madison. Anecdote of Jefferson. 

WEARY of office, and longing for the tranquillity of pri- 
vate life amidst the groves of his beautiful home at Monti- 
cello, it was the first wish of Jefferson's heart to retire at the 
close of his first Presidential term. His friends, however, 
urged his continuance in office for the next four years, and 
persisted in renominating him as the Republican candidate 
in the coming elections. There were other reasons which 
induced him to yield his consent besides the entreaties of 
his friends. We find these alluded to in the following ex- 
tract from a letter written to Mazzei on the 18th of July, 

I should have retired at the end of the first four years, but 
that the immense load of Tory calumnies which have been 
manufactured respecting me, and have filled the European 
market, have obliged me to appeal once more to my country 
for justification. I have no fear but that I shall receive hon- 
orable testimony by their verdict on these calumnies. At 
the end of the next four years I shall certainly retire. Age, 
inclination, and principle all dictate this. My health, which 
at one time threatened an unfavorable turn, is now firm. 

During the summer of 1804 Jefferson made his usual visit 
to Monticello, where his quiet enjoyment of home-life was 


saddened by the remembrance of the painful scenes through 
which he had so lately passed there. 

At the time of his second inauguration, on the 5th of 
March, 1805, Jefferson was in his sixty-second year. His in- 
augural address closed with the following eloquent words : 

I fear not that any motives of interest may lead me astray ; 
I am sensible of no passion which could seduce me knowing- 
ly from the path of justice; but the weakness of human na- 
ture, and the limits of my own understanding, will produce 
errors of judgment sometimes injurious to your interests. I 
shall need, therefore, all the indulgence I have heretofore ex- 
perienced the want of it will certainly not lessen with in- 
creasing years. I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in 
whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, 
from their native land, and planted them in a country flow- 
ing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has 
covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years 
with his wisdom and power ; and to whose goodness I ask 
you to join with me in supplications that He will so enlight- 
en the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and pros- 
per their measures, that whatsoever they do shall result in 
your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and 
approbation of all nations. 

The next two years of his life possess nothing worthy of 
special notice in this volume. The reader will find interest- 
ing the following extract from one of his letters of 1806 : 

To Mr. Harris. 

Washington, April 18th, 1806. 

Sir It is now some time since I received from you, 
through the house of Smith & Buchanan, at Baltimore, a 
bust of the Emperor Alexander, for which I have to return 
you my thanks. These are the more cordial because of the 
value the bust derives from t]ie great estimation in which its 
original is held by the world, and by none more than by my- 
self. It will constitute one of the most valued ornaments of 
the retreat I am preparing for myself at my native home. 
Accept, at the same time, my acknowledgments for the ele- 
gant work of Atkinson and Walker on the customs of the 


Russians. I had laid down as a law for my conduct while 
in office, and hitherto scrupulously observed, to accept of no 
present beyond a book, a pamphlet, or other curiosity of mi- 
nor value ; as well to avoid imputation on my motives of 
action, as to shut out a practice susceptible of such abuse. 
But my particular esteem for the character of the Emperor 
places his image, in my mind, above the scope of law, I 
receive it, therefore, and shall cherish it with affection. It 
nourishes the contemplation of all the good placed in his 
power, and of his disposition to do it. 

A day later he wrote to the Emperor himself: 

I owe an acknowledgment to your Imperial Majesty for 
the great satisfaction I have received from your letter of 
August the 20th, 1805, and embrace the opportunity it af- 
fords of giving expression to the sincere respect and venera- 
tion I entertain for your character. It will be among the 
latest and most soothing comforts of my life to have seen 
advanced to the government of so extensive a portion of the 
earth, at so early a period of his life, a sovereign whose rul- 
ing passion is the advancement of the happiness and pros- 
perity of his people ; and not of his own people only, but 
who can extend his eye and his good-will to a distant and 
infant nation, unoffending in its course, unambitious in its 

I have lying before me a letter, written in French, and 
over a superb signature, from the Emperor Alexander to 
Mr. Jefferson. It is dated " & St. Petersbourg, ce 1 JWovembre, 
1804," and at the close has this graceful paragraph: 

From the Hfmperor Alexander. 

Truly grateful for the interest which you have proved to 
me that you take in the well-being and prosperity of Russia, 
I feel that I can not better express similar feelings towards 
the United States, than by hoping they may long preserve 
at the head of their administration a chief who is as virtu- 
ous as he is enlightened. 


The bust of the Emperor was placed in the hall at Monti- 
cello, facing one of Napoleon, which stood on the opposite 
side of the door leading into the portico. 

Writing to one of his French friends M. le Comte Diodati 
on January 13, 1807, Jefferson says : 

To Comte Diodati. 

At the end of my present term, of which two years are 
yet to come, I propose to retire from public life, and to close 
my days on my patrimony of Monticello, in the bosom of my 
family. I have hitherto enjoyed uniform health ; but the 
weight of public business begins to be too heavy for me, and 
I long for the enjoyments of rural life among my books, my 
farms, and my family. Having performed my quadragena, 
stipendia, I am entitled to my discharge, and should be. sor- 
ry, indeed, that others should be sooner sensible than myself 
when I ought to ask it. I have, therefore, requested my fel- 
low-citizens to think of a successor for me, to whom I shall 
deliver the public concerns with greater joy than I received 
them. I have the consolation, too, of having added nothing,, 
to my private fortune during my public service, and of re- 
tiring with hands as clean as they are empty. 

Wearied with the burden of public life, Jefferson had 
written his old friend, John Dickinson, two months earlier: 

To John Dickinson, 

I have tired you, my friend, with a long letter. But your 
tedium will end in a few lines more. Mine has yet two 
years to endure. I am tired of an office where I can do no 
more good than many others who would be glad 'to be em- 
ployed in it. To myself, personally, it brings nothing but 
unceasing drudgery and daily loss of friends. 

A letter written to Mr. Eppes in July, 1807, alludes to 
the death of little Maria, the youngest child left by his lost 
daughter. He writes : 

To Mr. JSppes. 

Tours of the 3d is received. At that time, I presume, you 
had not got mine of June 19th, asking the favor of you to 


procure me a horse. I have lost three since you left this 
place [Washington] ; however, I can get along with the 
three I have remaining, so as to give time for looking up a 
fourth, suitable in as many points as can be obtained. My 
happiness at Monticello (if I am able to go there) will be les- 
sened by not having Francis and yourself there ; but the cir- 
cumstance which prevents it is one of the most painful that 
ever happened to me in life. Thus comfort after comfort 
drops off from us, till nothing is left but what is proper food 
for the grave. I trust, however, we shall have yourself and 
Francis the ensuing winter, and the one following that, and 
we must let the after-time provide for itself. He will ever 
be to me one of the dearest objects of life. 

The following letter from Lafayette to Jefferson explains 

From the Marquis Lafayette. 

Auteuil, January llth, 1808. 

My dear friend The constant mourning of your heart 
will be deepened by the grief I am doomed to impart to it. 
Who better than you can sympathize for the loss of a be- 
loved wife ? The angel who for thirty-four years has bless- 
ed my life, was to you an affectionate, grateful friend. Pity 
me, my dear Jefferson, and believe me, forever, with all my 
heart, yours, 


M. and Madame de Telli, at whose house we have attend- 
ed her last moments, are tolerably well. We now are, my 
children and myself, in the Tracy family, and shall return to 
La Grange as soon as we can. 

We find in Jefferson's correspondence of this year a letter 
written to his friend Dr. Wistar, of Philadelphia, in which 
he bespeaks his kind offices for his young grandson, Thomas 
Jefferson Randolph, then in his fifteenth year, and whom Mr. 
Jefferson wished to send to Philadelphia, that he might there 
prosecute his studies in the sciences. The devotion of this 
grandson and grandfather for each other was constant and 
touching. When the former went to Philadelphia, he left 
Monticello with his grandfather, and went with him as far 


as Washington, where he speiA some days. Nothing could 
have exceeded his grandfather's kindness and thoughtfulness 
for him on this occasion. He looked over, with him, his 
wardrobe, and examined the contents of his trunk with as 
much care as if he had been his mother, and then, taking out 
a pencil and paper, made a list of purchases to be made for 
him, saying, "You will need such and such things when you 
get to Philadelphia." Nor would he let another make the 
purchases, but, going out with his grandson, got for him 
himself what he thought was suitable for him, though kind- 
ly consulting his taste. I give this incident only as a proof 
of Jefferson's thoughtful devotion for his grandchildren and 
of the perfect confidence which existed between himself and 

In a letter, full of good feeling and good advice, written to 
Mr. Monroe in February, 1808, hfe cautions him against the 
danger of politics raising a rivalship between Mr. Madison 
and himself, and then, alluding to his own personal feelings, 
closes thus affectionately : 

To James Monroe. 

My longings for retirement are so strong, that I with diffi- 
culty encounter the daily drudgeries of my duty. But my 
wish for retirement itself is not stronger than that of carry- 
ing into it the affections of all my friends. I have ever .view- 
ed Mr. Madison and yourself as two principal pillars of my 
happiness. Were either to be withdrawn, I should consider 
it as among the greatest calamities which could assail my 
future peace of mind. I have great confidence that the can- 
dor and high understanding of both will guard me against this 
misfortune, the bare possibility of which has so far weighed 
on my mind, that I could not be easy without unburdening 
it. Accept my respectful salutations for yourself and Mrs. 
Monroe, and be assured of my constant and sincere friend- 

The following letters to two of his grandchildren give a 
pleasant picture of his attachment to and intimate inter- 
course with them : 


To Cornelia Randolph * 

Washington, April 3d, '08. 

My dear Cornelia I have owed you a letter two months, 
but have had nothing to write about, till last night I found 
in a newspaper the four lines which I now inclose you ; and 
as you are learning to write, they will be a good lesson to 
convince you of the importance of minding your stops in 
writing. I allow you a day to find out yourself how to read 
these lines, so as to make them true. K you can not do it in 
that time, you may call in assistance. At the same time, I 
will give you four other lines, which I learnt when I was 
but a little older than you, and I still remember. 

"IVe seen the sea all in a blaze of fire 
I've seen a house high as the moon and higher 
I've seen the sun at twelve o'clock at night 
I've seen the man who saw this wondrous sight." 

All this is true, whatever you may think of it at first read- 
ing. I mentioned in my letter of last week to Ellen that I 
was under an attack of periodical headache. This is the 
10th day. It has been very moderate, and yesterday did 
not last more than three hours. Tell your mamma that I 
fear I shall not get away as soon as I expected. Congress 
has spent the last five days without employing a single hour 
in the business necessary to be finished. Kiss her for me, 
and all the sisterhood. f To Jefferson I give my hand, to 
your papa my affectionate salutations. You have always 
my love. 


P.S. April 5. I have kept my letter open till to-day, 
and am able to say now that my headache for the last two 
days has been scarcely sensible. 

To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. 

Washington, Oct. 24th, 1808. 

Dear Jefferson I inclose you a letter from Ellen, which; 
I presume, will inform you that all are well at Edgehill. I 

* She was just ten years old. 

f Mrs. Randolph's five daughters Anne, Ellen, Cornelia, Virginia, and 
Mary. She had at this time only two sons Jefferson, her second child, and 
James Madison, 


received yours without date of either time or place, but writ- 
ten, I presume, on your arrival at Philadelphia. As the com- 
mencement of your lectures is now approaching, and you 
will hear two lectures a day, I would recommend to you to 
set out from the ^beginning with the rule to commit to writ- 
ing every evening the substance of the lectures of the day. 
It will be attended with many advantages. It will oblige 
you to attend closely to what is delivered to recall it to your 
memory, to understand, and to digest it in the evening ; it 
will fix it in your memory, and enable you to refresh it at 
any future time. It will be much better to you than even a 
better digest by another hand, because it will better recall 
to your mind the ideas which you originally entertained and 
meant to abridge. Then, if once a week you will, in a letter 
to me, state a synopsis or summary view of the heads of the 
lectures of the preceding week, it will give me great satis- 
faction to attend to your progress, and it will further aid you 
by obliging you still more to generalize and to see analyt- 
ically the fields of science over which you are travelling. I 
wish to hear of the commissions I gave you for Rigden, 
Voight, and Ronaldson, of the delivery of the letters I gave 
you to my friends there, and how you like your situation. 
This will give you matter for a long letter, which will give 
you as useful an exercise in writing as a pleasing one to me 
in reading. 
God bless you, and prosper your pursuits. 


To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. 

Washington, November 24th, 1808. 

My dear Jefferson I have mentioned good-humor 

as one of the preservatives of our peace and tranquillity. It 
is among the most effectual, and its effect is so well imitated, 
and aided, artificially, by politeness, that this also becomes 
an acquisition of first-rate value. In truth, politeness is ar- 
tificial good-humor; it covers the natural want of it, and ends 
by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the 
real virtue. Jt is the practice of sacrificing to those whom 
we meet in society all the little conveniences and prefer- 
ences which will gratify them, and deprive us of nothing 
worth a moment's consideration ; it is the giving a pleasing 


and flattering turn to our expressions, which will conciliate 
others, and make them pleased with us as well as themselves. 
How cheap a price for the good-will of another ! "When 
this is in return for a rude thing said by another, it brings 
him to his senses, it mortifies and corrects him in the most 
salutary way, and places him at the feet of your good-nature 
in the eyes of the company. But in stating prudential rules 
for our government in society, I must not omit the important 
one of never entering into dispute or argument with another. 
I never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants con- 
vincing the other by argument. I have seen many of their 
getting warm, becoming rude, and shooting one another. 
Conviction is the effect of our own dispassionate reasoning, 
either in solitude, or weighing within ourselves, dispassion- 
ately, what we hear from others, standing uncommitted in 
argument ourselves. 

It was one of the rules which, above all others, made Doc- 
tor Franklin the most amiable of men in society, never to con- 
tradict any body. If he was urged to announce an opinion, 
he did it rather by asking questions, as if for information, 
or by suggesting doubts. When I hear another express an 
opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, He has a right to 
his opinion, as I to mine ; why should I question it ? His 
error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, 
to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion ? If a 
fact be misstated, it is probable he is gratified by a belief of 
it, and I have no right to deprive him of the gratification. 
If he wants information, he will ask it, and then I will give 
it in measured terms ; but if he still believes his own story, 
and shows a desire to dispute the fact with me, I hear him 
and say nothing. It is his affair, not mine, if he prefers 

There are two classes of disputants most frequently to be 
met with among us. The first is of young students, just en- 
tered the threshold of science, with a first view of its out- 
lines, not yet filled up with the details and modifications 
which a further progress would bring to their knowledge. 
The other consists of the ill-tempered and rude men in socie- 
ty who have taken up a passion for politics. (Good-humor 
and politeness never introduce into mixed society a question 
on which they foresee there will be a difference of opinion.) 


From both of these classes of disputants, my dear Jeffersorij 
keep aloof,.as you would from the infected subjects of yellow 
fever or pestilence. Consider yourself, when with them, as 
among the patients of Bedlam, needing medical more than 
moral counsel. Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and 
endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, es- 
pecially in politics. In the fevered state of our country, no 
good can ever result from any attempt to set one of these 
fiery zealots to rights, either in fact or principle. They are 
determined as to the facts they will believe, and the opin- 
ions on which they will act. Get by them, therefore, as you 
would by an angry bull ; it is not for a man -of sense to dis- 
pute the road with such an animal. You will be more ex- 
posed than others to have these animals shaking their horns 
at you because of the relation in which you stand with 

My character is not within their power. It is in the 
hands of my fellow-citizens at large, and will be consigned 
to honor or infamy by the verdict of the republican mass of 
our country, according to what themselves will have seen, 
not what their enemies and mine shall have said. Never, 
therefore, consider these puppies in politics as requiring any 
notice from you, and always show that you are not afraid 
to leave my character to the umpirage of public opinion. 
Look steadily to the pursuits which have carried you to 
Philadelphia, be very select in the society you attach your- 
self to ; avoid taverns, drinkers, smokers, idlers, and dissipa- 
ted persons generally ; for it is with such that broils and con- 
tentions arise ; and you will find your path more easy and 
tranquil. The limits of my paper warn me that it is time 
for me to close, with my affectionate adieu. 


P.S. Present me affectionately to Mr. Ogilvie; and in do- 
ing the same to Mr. Peale, tell him I am writing with his 
polygraph, and shall send him mine the first moment I have 
leisure enough to pack it. T. J. 

To Cornelia Randolph. 

Washington, Dec. 26th, J 08. 

I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired 
the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled 


by it to converse with an absent friend as if present ! To 
this we are indebted for all our reading; because it must 
be written before we can read it. To this we are indebted 
for the Iliad, the JEneid, the Columbiad, Henriad, Dunciad, 
and now, for the most glorious poem of all, the Terrapiniad, 
which I now inclose you. This sublime poem consigns to 
everlasting fame the greatest achievement in war ever 
known to ancient or modern times : in the battle of David 
and Goliath, the disparity between the combatants was 
nothing in comparison to our case. I rejoice that you have 
learnt to write, for another reason ; for as that is done with 
a goose-quill, you now know the value of a goose,and of 
course you will assist Ellen in taking care of the half-dozen 
very fine gray geese which I shall send by Davy. But as 
to this, I must refer to your mamma to decide whether they 
will be safest at Edgehill or at Monticello till I return 
home, and to give orders accordingly. I received letters a 
few days ago from Mr. Bankhead and Anne. They are well. 
I had expected a visit from Jefferson at Christmas, had there 
been a sufficient intermission in his lectures ; but I suppose 
there was not, as he is not come. Remember me affection- 
ately to your papa and mamma, and kiss Ellen and all the 
children for me. 


P.S. Since writing the above, I have a letter from Mr. 
Peale informing me that Jefferson is well, and saying the 
best things of him. 

The Mr. Bankhead mentioned in the preceding letter was a 
gentleman who had married Mrs. Randolph's eldest daugh- 
ter, Anne. 

The following letter I give here, though of a later date 
by nearly two years than others that follow : 

To Cornelia Randolph. 

Monticello, June 3d, J ll. 

My dear Cornelia I have lately received a copy of Miss 
Edgeworth's Moral Tales, which, seeming better suited to 
your years than mine, I inclose you the first volume. The 
other two shall follow as soon as your mamma has read 
them. They are to make a part of your library. I have 


noli looked into them, preferring to receive their character 
from you, after you shall have read them. Your family of 
silk-worms is reduced to a single individual. That is now 
spinning his broach. To encourage Virginia and Mary to 
take care of it, I tell them that, as soon as they can get wed- 
ding-gowns from this spinner, they shall be married. I pro- 
pose the same to you ; that, in order to hasten its work, t you 
may hasten home; for we all wish* much to see you, and to 
express in person, rather than by letter, the assurance of our 
affectionate love. 


P.S. The girls desire me to add a postscript to inform 
you that Mrs. Higginbotham has just given them new 

The precepts inculcating good temper, good humor and 
amiability, which we have found Jefferson giving to his 
grandson in the foregoing letters were faithfully carried into 
practice by him. There never lived a more amiable being 
than himself; yet, like all men of powerful minds and strong 
wills, he was not incapable of being aroused in anger on 
occasions of strong provocation. His* biographer mentions 
two instances of this kind. On one occasion it was with 
his favorite coachman, Jupiter. A boy had been ordered to 
take one of the carriage-horses to go on an errand. Jupiter 
refused to allow his horses to be used for any such purpose. 
The boy returned to his master with a message to that ef- 
fect. Mr. Jefferson, thinking it a joke of Jupiter's played 
off on the boy, sent him back with a repetition of the order. 
He, however'^ returned in a short time, bearing the same re- 
fusal from the coachman. " Tell Jupiter to come to me at 
once," said Mr. Jefferson, in an excited tone. Jupiter came, 
and received the order and a rebuke from his master in 
tones and with a look which neither he nor the terrified 
bystanders ever forgot. 

On another occasion he was crossing a river in a ferry- 
boat, accompanied by his daughter Martha. The two ferry- 
men were engaged in high quarrel when Mr. Jefferson and 
his daughter came up. They suppressed their anger for a 



time and took in the passengers, but in the middle of the 
stream it again broke forth with renewed force, and with 
every prospect of their resorting to blows. Mr. Jefferson 
remonstrated with them; they did not heed him, and the 
next moment, with his eyes flashing, he had snatched up an 
oar, and, in a voice which rung out above the angry tones of 
the men, flourished it over their heads, and cried out "Row 
for your lives, or I will knock you both overboard I" And 
they did row for their lives ; nor, I imagine, did they soon 
forget the fiery looks and excited appearance of that tall 
weird-like-looking figure brandishing the heavy 0ar over 
their offending heads. 

The following extract is taken from a letter written to- 
wards the close of the year 1808 to Doctor Logan : "As the 
moment of my retirement approaches, I become more anx- 
ious for its arrival, and to begin at length to pass what yet 
remains to me of life and health in the bosom of my family 
and neighbors, and in communication with my friends, un- 
disturbed by political concerns or passions." 

Having heard that < the good people of Albemarle wished 
to meet him on the road, and give him a public reception on 
his return home, with his usual dislike of being lionized, he 
hastened, in a letter to his son-in-law, Mr. Randolph, to .put 
them off, with many thanks, by saying " the commencement 
and termination " of his journey would be too uncertain for 
him to fix upon a day that he might be expected. This let- 
ter was written on Feb. 28th, 1809. I give the following 

But it is a sufficient happiness to me to know that my 
fellow-citizens of the country generally entertain for me the 
kind sentiments which have prompted this proposition, with- 
out giving to so many the trouble of leaving their homes to 
meet a single individual. I shall have opportunities of tak- 
ing them individually by the hand at our court-house and 
other public places, and of exchanging assurances of mutual 
esteem. Certainly it is the greatest consolation to me to 
know that, in returning to the bosom of my native country, 


I shall be again in the midst of their kind affections ; and I 
can say with truth that my return to them will make me 
happier than I have been since I left them. 

Two days before his release from harness he wrote to his 
friend Dupont de Nemours : 

To Dupont de Nemours. 

Within a few days I retire to my family, my books, and 
farms ; and having gained the harbor myself, I shall look on 
my friends still buffeting the storm with anxiety indeed, but 
not with envy. Never did a prisoner, released from his 
chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles 
of power. Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of 
science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the 
enormities of the times in which I have lived have forced 
me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself 
on the boisterous ocean of political passions. I thank ,God 
for the opportunity of retiring from them without censure, 
and carrying with me the most consoling proofs of public 
approbation. I leave every thing in the hands of men so 
able to take care of them, that, if we are destined to meet 
misfortunes, it will be because no human wisdom could avert 
them. Should you return to the United States, perhaps your 
curiosity may lead you to visit the hermit of Monticello. 
He will receive you with affection and delight ; hailing you 
in the mean time with his affectionate salutations and assur- 
ances of constant esteem and respect. 

On the day of the inauguration of his. successor, Jefferson 
rode on horseback to the Capitol, being accompanied only by 
his grandson, Jefferson Randolph then a lad in his seven- 
teenth year. He had heard that a body of cavalry and in- 
fantry were preparing to escort him to the Capitol, and, still 
anxious to avoid all kinds of display, hurried off with his 
grandson. As they rode along Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. 
Jefferson caught a glimpse of the head of the column com- 
ing down one of the cross-streets. He touched his hat to 
the troops, and, spurring up his horse, trotted past them. 
He again "hitched his horse to the palisades" around the 


Capitol, and, entering the building, there witnessed the trans- 
fer of the administration of the Government from his own 
hands into those of the man who, above all others, was the 
man of Hs choice for that office his long-tried and trust- 
ed friend, James Madison. Thus closed forever his public 

The perfect harmony between himself and his cabinet is 
alluded to in a letter written nearly two years after his re- 
tirement from office. He writes : 

The third Administration, which was of eight years, pre- 
sented an example of harmony in a cabinet of six persons, to 
which perhaps history has furnished no parallel. There nev- 
er arose, during the whole time, an instance of an unpleasant 
thought or word between the members. We sometimes met 
under differences of opinion, but scarcely ever failed, by con- 
versing and reasoning, so to modify each other's ideas as to 
produce an unanimous result. 

A few days before leaving Washington, he wrote to Baron 
Humboldt : 

To Baron Humboldt. 

You mention that you had before written other letters to 
me. Be assured I have never received a single one, or I 
should not have failed to make my acknowledgments of it 
Indeed I have not waited for that, but for the certain infor- 
mation, which I had not, of the place where you might be. 
Tour letter of May 30th first gave me that information. 
You have wisely located yourself in the focus of the science 
of Europe. I am held by the cords of love to my family and 
country, or I should certainly join you. Within a few days 
I shall now bury myself within the groves of Monticello, and 
become a mere spectator of the passing events. Of politics 
I will say nothing, because I would not implicate you by ad- 
dressing to you the republican ideas of America, deemed 
horrible heresies by the royalism of Europe. 

At the close of a letter written on the 8th of March to 
Mr. Short, he says: "I write this in the midst of packing 


and preparing for my departure, of visits of leave, and inter- 
ruptions of every kind." 

In February the Legislature of Virginia had passed an 
address of farewell to him as a public man. This address, 
penned by William Wirt, closes thus handsomely : 

In the principles on which you have administered the 
Government, we see only the continuation and maturity of 
the same virtues and abilities which drew upon you in your 
youth the resentment of Dunmore. From the first brilliant 
and happy moment of your resistance to foreign tyranny un- 
til the present day, we mark with pleasure and with grati- 
tude the same uniform and consistent character the same 
warm and devoted attachment to liberty and the Kepublic 
the same Roman love of your country, her rights, her peace, 
her honor, her prosperity. How blessed will be the retire- 
ment into which you are about to go ! How deservedly 
blessed will it be ! For you carry with you the richest of 
all rewards, the recollection of a life well spent in the service 
of your country, and proofs the most decisive of the love, the 
gratitude, the veneration of your countrymen. That your 
retirement may be as happy as your life has been virtuous 
and useful ; that our youth may see in the blissful close of 
your days an additional inducement to form themselves on 
your model, is the devout and earnest prayer of your fellow- 
citizens who compose the General Assembly of Virginia. 

In his reply to this address, Jefferson closes as follows : 

In the desire of peace, but in full confidence of safety 
from our unity, our position, and our resources,! shall retire 
into the bosom of my native State, endeared to me by every 
tie which can attach the human heart. The assurances of 
your approbation, and that my conduct has given satisfaction 
to my fellow-citizens generally, will be an important ingre- 
dient in my future happiness ; and that the Supreme Ruler 
of the universe may have our country under his special care, 
will be among the latest of my prayers. 

The following reply to an address of welcome from the 


citizens of Albemarle is one of the most beautiful, graceful, 
and touching productions of his pen: 

To the Inhabitants of Albemarle County, in Virginia. 

April 3d, 1809. 

Returning to the scenes of my birth and early life, to the 
society of those with whom I was raised, and who have been 
ever dear to me, I receive, fellow-citizens and neighbors, with 
inexpressible pleasure, the cordial welcome you are so good 
as to give me. Long absent on duties which the history of 
a wonderful era made incumbent on those called to them, 
the pomp, the turmoil, the bustle, and splendor of office have 
drawn but deeper sighs for the tranquil and irresponsible oc- 
cupations of private life, for the enjoyment of an affectionate 
intercourse with you, my neighbors and friends, and the en- 
dearments of family love, which nature has given us all, as 
the sweetener of every hour. For these I gladly lay down 
the distressing burden of power, and seek, with my fellow- 
citizens, repose and safety under the watchful cares, and 
labors, and perplexities of younger and abler minds. The 
anxieties you express to administer to my happiness, do, of 
themselves, confer that happiness ; and the measure will be 
complete, if my endeavors to fulfill my duties in the several 
public stations to which I have been called have obtained 
for me the approbation of my country. The part which I 
have acted on the theatre of public life has been before 
them, and to their sentence I submit it ; but the testimony 
of my native county, of the individuals who have known me 
in private life, to my conduct in its various duties and rela- 
tions, is the more grateful, as proceeding from eye-witnesses 
and observers, from triers of the vicinage. Of you, then, my 
neighbors, I may ask, in the face of the world, " Whose ox 
have I taken, or whom have I defrauded ? Whom have I 
oppressed, or of whose hand have I received a bribe to blind 
mine eyes therewith ?" On your verdict I rest with conscious 
security. Tour wishes for my happiness are received with 
just sensibility, and I offer sincere prayers for your own 
welfare and prosperity. 

Jefferson arrived at Monticello on the 15th of March, and 
two days later wrote to Madison as follows : 


* C I had a very fatiguing journey, having found the roads 
excessively bad, although I have seen them worse. The last 
three days I found it better to be on horseback, and travelled 
eight hours through as disagreeable a snow-storm as I was 
ever in. Feeling no inconvenience from the expedition but 
fatigue, I have more confidence in my vis vitce than I had 
before entertained." 

He was at this time in his sixty-sixth year. 

The following anecdote of Jefferson which I have on the 
best authority is too characteristic of his feeling for the 
suffering of another, his bold and rash spirit of reform, and 
the bitter feelings towards him of his political adversaries, 
to be omitted. 

In going from Washington to Monticello, Jefferson gen- 
erally left the city in the afternoon, and spent the first night 
of his journey with his friend Mr. William Fitzhugh, of Ra- 
vensworth, who lived nine or ten miles from Washington. 
It so happened that 'there lived near Ravensworth a Doctor 
Stuart, of Chantilly, who was a bitter Federalist, and conse- 
quently a violent hater of Jefferson, in whom he could! not 
believe there was any good whatever. He was intimate, 
however, with Mr. Fitzhugh, and, being a great politician, 
generally found his way over to Ravensworth the morning 
after Jefferson's visit, to inquire what news he had brought 
from the capital. 

On the occasion of one of these visits, while Mr. Fitzhugh 
and his distinguished guest were strolling round the beauti- 
ful lawn at Ravensworth enjoying the fresh morning air, a 
servant ran up to tell them that a negro man had cut him- 
self severely with an axe. Mr. Fitzhugh immediately order- 
ed the servant to go for a physician. Jefferson suggested 
that the poor negro might bleed to death before the doctor 
could arrive, and, saying that he himself had some little skill 
and experience in surgery, proposed that they should go and 
see what could be done for the poor fellow. Mr. Fitzhugh 
willingly acquiesced, and, on their reaching the patient, they 
found he had a severe cut in the calf of his leg. Jefferson 


soon procured a needle and silk, and in a little while had 
sewed up the wound and carefully bandaged the leg. 

As they walked back from the negro's cabin, Jefferson re- 
marked to his friend that, though the ways of Divine Provi- 
. dence were all wise and beneficent, yet it had always struck 
him as being strange that the thick, fleshy coverings and 
defenses of the bones in the limbs of the human frame were 
placed in their rear, when the danger of their fracture gen- 
erally came from the front. The remark struck Fitzhugh 
as being an original and philosophical one, and served to 
increase his favorable impressions of his friend's sagacity. 

x Jefferson had not long departed and resumed his journey, 
before Dr. Stuart arrived, and greeted Mr, Fitzhugh with the 
question of, "What news did your friend give you, and what 
new heresy did the fiend incarnate attempt to instill into 
your mind?" "Ah ! Stuart," Mr. Fitzhugh began, "you do 
Jefferson injustice ; he is a great man, a very great man ;" 
and then went on to tell of the accident which had befallen 
the negro, Jefferson's skill in dressing the wound, and his re- 
mark afterwards, which had made such an impression upon 

"Well," cried Dr. Stuart, raising his hands with 'horror, 
"what is the world coming to ! Here this fellow, Jefferson, 
after turning upside down every thing on the earth, is now 
quarrelling with God Almighty himself 1" 



His final Return home. Wreck of his Fortunes. Letter to Mr. Eppes. To 
his Grand-daughter, Mrs. Bankhead. To Kosciusko. Description of the 
Interior of the House at Monticello. --Of the View from Monticello. Jef- 
ferson's Grandson's Description of his Manners and Appearance. Anec- 
dotes. His Habits. Letter to Governor Langdon. To Gpvernor Tyler. 
Life at Monticello, and Sketch of Jefferson by a Grand-daughter. 
Reminiscences of him by another Grand-daughter. 

FULL of years and full of honors, we "behold, then, the vet- 
eran statesman attaining at last the goal of his wishes. Joy- 
fully received into the arms of his family, Jefferson returned 
home, fondly hoping to pass in tranquillity the evening of 
an eventful and honorahle life surrounded by those he loved 
besfyand from whom he was never again to be parted except 
by death. His whole demeanor betokened the feelings of 
one who had been relieved of a heavy and wearisome bur- 
den. His family noticed the elasticity of his step while en- 
gaged in his private apartments arranging his books and pa- 
pers, and not unfrequently heard him humming a favorite 
air, or singing snatches of old songs which had been almost 
forgotten since the days of his youth. But, alas ! who can 
control his destiny P Who can foresee the suffering to be 
endured ? It required but a brief sojourn at home, and a 
thorough investigation of his affairs, for Jefferson to see that 
his long-continued absence had told fearfully on the value 
of his farms ; that his long enlistment in the service of his 
country had been his pecuniary ruin. The state of his feel- 
' ings on this subject is painfully shown in the fpllowing ex- 
tract from a letter written by him to Kosciusko : 

To Thaddeus IZbscius&o. 

Instead of the unalloyed happiness of retiring unembar- 
rassed and independent to the enjoyment of my estate, 


which is ample for my limited views, I have to pass such a - 
length of time in a thraldom of mind never before known to 
me. Except for this, my happiness would have been perfect. 
That yours may never know disturbance, and that you may 
enjoy as many years of life, health, and ease as yourself shall 
wish, is the sincere prayer of your constant and affectionate 

Towards the close of the year 1809 we find him writing to 
his son-in-law, Mr. Eppes, then in Washington, as follows : 

To JohnW. Zfypes. 

I should sooner have informed you of Francis's safe arrival 
here, but that the trip you meditated to North Carolina ren- 
dered it entirely uncertain where a letter would find you. 
Kor had I any expectation you could have been at the first 
meeting of Congress, till I saw your name in the papers 
brought by our last post. Disappointed in sending this by 
the return of the post, I avail myself of General Clarke's 
journey to Washington for its conveyance. Francis has en- 
joyed perfect and constant health, and is as happy as the 
day is long. He has had little success as yet with either his 
traps or bow and arrows. He is now engaged in a literary 
contest with his cousin, Virginia, both having begun to write 
together. As soon, as he gets to z (being now only at h) he 
promises you a letter. 

The following to his oldest grandchild shows how com- 
pletely Jefferson had thrown off the cares and thoughts of 
public life and plunged into the sweets and little enjoyments 
of a quiet country life. 

To Mrs. Anne O. Eankhead. 

Monticello, Dec. 29th, 1809. 

My dear Anne Tour mamma has given me a letter to in- 
close to you, but whether it contains any thing contraband 
I know not. Of that the responsibility must be on her ; I 
therefore inclose it. I suppose she gives you all the small 
news of the place such as the race in writing between Vir- 
ginia and Francis, that the wild geese are well after a flight 
of a mile and a half into the river, that the plants in the 


green-house prosper, etc., etc. A propos of plants, make a 
thousand acknowledgments to Mrs. Bankhead for the favor 
proposed of the Cape jessamine. It will be cherished with 
all the possible attentions ; and in return pi-offer her calycan- 
thuses, pecans, silk-trees, Canada martagons, or any thing else 
we have. Mr. Bankhead, I suppose, is seeking a merry Christ- 
mas-in all the wit and merriments of Coke upon Littleton. 
God send him a good deliverance ! Such is the usual prayer 
for those standing at the bar. Deliver to Mary my kisses, 
and tell her I have a present from one of her acquaintances, 
Miss Thomas, for her the minutest gourd ever seen, of which 
I send her a draught in the margin. What is to become of 
our flowers ? I left them so entirely to yourself, that I nev- 
er knew any thing about them, what they are, where they 
grow, what is to be done for them. You must really make 
out a book of instructions for Ellen, who has fewer cares in 
her head than I have. Every thing shall be furnished on 
my part at her call. Present my friendly respects to Dr. 
and Mrs. Bankhead. My affectionate attachment to Mr. 
Bankhead and yourself, not forgetting Mary. 


We find in a letter written by Jefferson to Kosciusko (Feb. 
26th, 1810) an interesting account of his habits of daily life. 

He writes : 

To Thaddeus JTosciusJco. 

My mornings are devoted to correspondence. From 
breakfast to dinner I am in my shops, my garden, or on 
horseback among my farms ; from dinner to dark, I give to 
society and recreation with my neighbors and friends ; and 
from candle-light to early bed-time I read. My health is 
perfect, and my strength considerably reinforced by the ac- 
tivity of the course I pursue ; perhaps it is as great as usu- 
ally falls to the lot of near sixty-seven years of age. I talk 
of ploughs and harrows, of seeding and harvesting with my 
neighbors, and of politics too, if they choose, with as little 
reserve as the rest of my fellow-citizens, and feel, at length, 
the blessing of being free to say and do what I please with- 
out being responsible for it to any mortal. A part of my oc- 
cupation, and by no means the least pleasing, is the direction 
of the studies of such young men as ask it. They place them- 


selves in the neighboring village, and have the use of my 
lihrary and counsel, and make a part of my. society. In ad- 
vising the course of their reading, I endeavor to keep their 
attention fixed on the main objects of all science, the free- 
dom and happiness of man. So that, co'ming to bear a share 
in the councils and government of their country, they will 
keep ever in view the sole objects of all legitimate government. 

I now give a description of the interior of the mansion at 
Monticello, which was prepared for me by a member of Mr. 
Jefferson's family, who lived there for many years : 

The mansion, externally, is of the Doric order of Grecian 
architecture, with its heavy cornice and massive balustrades, 
its public rooms finished in the Ionic. The front hall of en- 
trance recedes six feet within the front wall of the building, 
covered by a portico the width of the recess, projecting twen- 
ty-five feet, and the height of the house, with stone pillars 
and steps. The hall is also the height of the house. From 
about midway of this room, passages lead off to either ex- 
tremity of the building. The rooms at the extremity of 
these passages terminate in octagonal projections, leaving a 
recess of three equal sides, into which the passages enter; 
piazzas the width of this recess, projecting six feet beyond, 
their roofs the height of the house, and resting on brick arch- 
es, cover the recesses. The northern one connects the house 
with the public terrace, while the southern is sashed in for a 
green-house. To the east of these passages, on each side of 
the hall, are lodging-rooms. This front is one-and-a-half sto- 
ries. The west front the rooms occupy the whole height, 
making the house one story, except the parlor or central 
room, which is surmounted by an octagonal story, with a 
dome or spherical roof. This was designed for a billiard- 
room ; but, before completion, a law was passed prohibiting 
public and private billiard-cables in the State. It was to 
have been approached by stairways connected with a gallery 
at the inner extremity of the hall, which itself forms the com- 
munication between the lodging-rooms on either side above. 
The use designed for the room being prohibited, these stair- 
ways were never erected, leaving in this respect a great de- 
ficiency in the house. 



The parlor projects twenty feet beyond the body of the 
house, covered by a portico one story, and surmounted by 
the billiard-room. The original plan of the projection was 
square; but when the cellar was built. up to the floor above, 
the room was projected beyond the square by three sides of 
an octagon, leaving a place beyond the cellar-wall not exca- 
vated, and it was in this space that the faithful Caesar and 
Martin concealed their master's plate when the British visit- 
ed Monticello.* The floor of this room is in squares, the 
squares being ten inches, of the wild cherry, very hard, sus- 
ceptible of a high polish, and the color of mahogany. The 
border of each square, four inches wide, is of beech, light- 
colored, hard, and bearing a high polish. Its original cost 
was two hundred dollars. After nearly seventy years of use 
and abuse, a half-hour's dusting and brushing will make it 
compare favorably with the handsomest tessellated floor. 

From the same pen are the following graphic descriptions 
of the views seen from Monticello : 

Monticello is five hundred and eighty feet high. It 
slopes eastward one-and-a-half miles by a gentle .declivity to 
the Bivanna River. Half a mile beyond is Shadwell, the 
birthplace of Jefferson, a beautiful spot overlooking the riv- 
er. The northeastern side of the mountain and slope is pre- 
cipitous, having dashed aside the countless floods of the Ri- 
vanna through all the tide of time. 

On the southwest, it is separated from the next mountain 
of the range, rising three hundred feet above it, by a road- 
pass two hundred and twenty feet below. This obstructs 
the view to the southwest. From the southwest to the 
northeast is a horizon unbroken, save by one solitary, pyra- 
mid-shaped mountain, its peak under the true meridian, and 
.distant by air-line forty-seven miles. Northeast the range 
pointing to the west terminates two miles off, its lateral 
spurs descending by gentle slopes to the Rivanna at your 
feet, covered with farms and green wheat-fields. This view 
of farms extends northeast and east six or seven miles. You 
trace the Rivanna by its cultivated valley as it passes east, 
apparently through an unbroken forest ; an inclined plane 

* See page 56. 


descends from your feet to the ocean two hundred miles dis- 
tant. All the western and northwestern slopes being poor, 
and the eastern and southeastern fertile, as the former are 
presented to the spectator, and are for the most p'art in 
wood, it presents the appearance of unbroken forest, bound- 
ed by an ocean-like horizon. 

Turn now and look from the north to the west. You 
stand at the apex of a triangle, the water-shed of the Rivan- 
na, the opposite side, at the base of the Blue Ridge, forty 
miles in length; its perpendicular twenty, descending five 
hundred feet to the base of your position, where the Rivan- 
na concentrates its muddy waters over an artificial cascade, 
marked by its white line of foam. 

West and southwest, the space between the Southwest 
Mountains and the Blue Ridge is filled by irregular mount- 
ains, the nearer known as the Ragged Mountains. At the 
northeast base of these, distant two and three miles, are 
Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, forming nu- 
clei connected by a scattered village. From west to north- 
.east no mountain interposes between your position and the 
base of the Blue Ridge, which sinks below the horizon 
eighty or one hundred miles distant. Two mountains only 
are seen northeast one ten, the other forty miles off ' The 
country, ascending from your position, and presenting to you 
its fertile slopes, gives the view of one highly cultivated. 
The railroad train is traced ten miles. This is the view so 
much admired. 

The top of the mountain has been levelled by art. This 
space is six hundred by two hundred feet, circular at each 
end. The mountain slopes gently on every gide from this 
lawn; one hundred feet from the eastern end stands the 
mansion. Its projecting porticoes, east and west, with the 
width of the house, occupy one hundred feet each way. . It 
approaches on either hand within fifty feet of the brow of 
the mountain, with which it is connected by covered ways 
ten feet wide, whose floors are level with the cellars, and 
whose flat roofs, forming promenades, are nearly level with 
the first floor of the dwelling. These, turning at right an- 
gles at the brow, and widening to twenty feet, extend one 
hundred feet, and terminate in one-story pavilions twenty 
feet square, the space beneath these terraces forming base- 


ment offices. From this northern terrace the view is sub- 
lime ; and here Jefferson and his company were accustomed 
to sit, bare-headed, in the summer until bed-time, having nei- 
ther dew nor insects to annoy them. Here, perhaps, has 
been assembled more love of liberty, virtue, wisdom, and 
learning than on any other private spot in America. 

Jefferson's grandson, Colonel Jefferson Randolph, writes of 
his appearance and manners thus : 

His manners were of that polished school of the Colonial 
Government, so remarkable in its day under no circum- 
stances violating any of those minor conventional observ- 
ances which constitute the well-bred gentleman, courteous 
and considerate to all persons. On riding out with him 
when a lad, we met a negro who bowed to nis ; he returned 
his bow ; I did not. Turning to me, he asked, 

" Do you permit a negro to be more of a gentleman than 

Mr. Jefferson's hair, when young, was of a reddish cast ; 
sandy as he advanced in years ; his eye, hazel. Dying in his 
84th year, he had not lost a tooth, nor had one defective ; 
his skin thin, peeling from his face on exposure to the sun, 
and giving it a tettered appearance ; the superficial veins so 
weak, as upon the slightest blow to cause extensive suffu- 
sions of blood in early life, upon standing to write for any 
length of time, bursting beneath the skin ; it, however, gave 
him no inconvenience. His countenance was mild and be- 
nignant, and attractive to strangers. 

While President, returning on horseback from Charlottes- 
ville with company whom he had invited to dioner, and who 
were, all but one or two, riding ahead of him, on reaching a 
stream over which there was no bridge, a man 'asked him to 
take him up behind him and cany him over. The gentle- 
men in the rear coming up just as Mr. Jefferson had put him 
down and ridden on, asked the man how it happened that he 
had permitted the others to pass without asking them ? He 

" From their looks, I did hot 'like to ask them ; the old 
gentleman looked as if he would do it, and I asked him." 

He was very much surprised to hear that he had ridden 
behind the President of the United States. 



Mr. Jefferson's stature was commanding six feet two-and- 
a-half inches in height, well formed, indicating strength, ac- 
tivity, and robust health.; his carriage erect; step firm and 
elastic, which he preserved to his death ; his temper, natural- 
ly strong, under perfect control; his courage cool and impas- 
sive. No one ever knew him exhibit trepidation. His moral 
courage of the highest order his will firm and inflexible 
it was remarked of him that he never abandoned a plan, a 
principle, or a friend. 

A bold and fearless rider, you saw at a glance, from his 
easy and confident seat, that he was master of his horse, 
which was usually the fine blood-horse of Virginia. The 
only impatience of temper he ever exhibited was with his 
horse, which he subdued to his will by a fearless application 
of the whip on the slightest manifestation' of restiveness. 
He retained to the last his fondness for riding on horseback; 
he rode within three weeks of his death, when, from disease, 
debility, and age, he mounted with difficulty. He rode with 
confidence, and never permitted a servant to accompany him; 
he was fond of solitary rides and musing, and said that the 
presence of a servant annoyed him. 

He held in little esteem the education which made men ig- 
norant and helpless as to the common necessities of life ; and 
he exemplified it by an incident which occurred to a young 
gentleman returned from Europe, where he had been edu- 
cated. On riding out with his companions, the strap of his 
girth broke at the hole for the buckle; and they, perceiving 
it an accident easily remedied, rode on and left him. A plain 
man coming up, and seeing that his horse had made a circu- 
lar path in the road in his impatience to get on, asked if he 
could aid him. 

"Oh, sir," replied the yotfng man, "if you could only as- 
sist me to get it up to the next hole." 

"Suppose you let it out a hole or two on the other side," 
said the man. 

His habits were regular and systematic. He was a miser 
of his time, rose always at dawn, wrote and read until break- 
fast, breakfasted early/aud dined from three to four ; 

retired at nine, and to bed from ten to eleven. He said, in 
his last illness, that the sun had not caught him in bed for 
fifty years. 


He always made his own fire. He drank water but once a 
day, a single glass, when he returned from his ride. He ate 
heartily, and much vegetable food, preferring French cook- 
ery, because it made the meats more tender. He never 
drank ardent spirits or strong wines. Such was his aver- 
sion to ardent spirits, that when, in his last illness, his physi- 
cian desired him to use brandy as an astringent, he could 
not induce him to take it strong enough. 

In looking over his correspondence, I select the following 
extracts, which the reader will find most interesting : 

To Governor Langdon, March 5th, 1810. 

While in Europe, I often amused myself with contempla- 
ting the characters of the then reigning sovereigns of Europe. 
Louis the XVI. was a fool, of my own knowledge, and despite 
of the answers made for him at his trial The King of Spain 
was a fool ; and of Naples, the same. They passed their lives 
in hunting, and dispatched two couriers a week one thou- 
sand miles to let each know what game they had killed the 
preceding days. The King of Sardinia was a fool. All these 
were Bourbons. The Queen of Portugal, a Braganza, was an 
idiot by nature ; and so was the King of Denmark. Their 
sons, as regents, exercised the powers of government. The 
King of Prussia, successor to the great Frederick, was a mere 
hog in body as well as in mind. Gustavus of Sweden, and 
Joseph of Austria, were really crazy ; and George of Eng- 
land, you know, was in a strait-waistcoat. There remained, 
then, none but old Catherine, who had been too lately pick- 
ed up to have lost her common sense. In this state Bona- 
parte found Europe ; and it was this state of its rulers which 
lost it with scarce a struggle. These animals had become 
without mind and powerless ; and so will every hereditary 
monarch be after a few generations. Alexander, the grand- 
son of Catherine, is as yet an exception. He is able to hold 
his own. But he is only of the third generation. His race 
is not yet worn out And so endeth the book of Kings, from 
all of whom the Lord deliver us, and have you, my friend, 
and all such good men and true, in his holy keeping. 


To Governor Tyler, May 2Qth, 1810. 

I have long, lamented with you the depreciation of law 
science. The opinion seems to be that Blackstone is to us 
what the Alkoran is to the Mohammedans, that every thing 
which is necessary is in him, and what is not in him is not 
necessary. I still lend my counsel and bpoks to such young 
students as will fix themselves in the neighborhood. Coke's 
Institutes and Reports are their first, and Blackstone their 
last book, after an intermediate course of two or three years. 
It is nothing more than an elegant digest of what they will 
then have acquired from the real fountains of the law. "Now 
men are born scholars, lawyers, dpctors; in our day this was 
confined to poets. 

The following letters, containing such charming pictures 
of life at Monticello and of Jefferson's intercourse with his 
family, were written to Mr. Randall by one of Mr. Jeffer- 
son's grand-daughters : 

My dear Mr. Randall You seem possessed of so many 
facts and such minute details of Mr. Jefferson's family life, 

that I know not how I can add to the amount When 

he returned from Washington, in 1809,1 was a child, and of 
that period I have childish recollections. He seemed to re- 
turn to private life with great satisfaction. At last he was 
his own master, and could, he hoped, dispose of his time as 
he pleased, and indulge his love of country life. You know 
how greatly he preferred it to town life. You recollect, as 
far back as his " Notes on Virginia," he says, " Those who 
labor in the earth are the chosen people of God." 

With regard to the tastes and wishes which he carried 
with him into the country, his love of reading alone would 
have made leisure and retirement delightful to him. Books 
were at all times his chosen companions, and his acquaint- 
ance with many languages gave him great power of selec- 
tion. He read Homer, Virgil, Dante, Corneille, Cervantes, 
as he read Shakspeare and Milton. In his youth he had 
loved poetry, but by the time I was old enough to observe, 
he had lost his taste for it, except for Homer and the great 
Athenian tragics, which he continued to the last to enjoy. 


He went over the works of ^Eschylus, Sophocles, and Euripi- 
des, not very long before I left him (the year before his 
death). Of history he was very fond, and this he studied in 
all languages, though always, I think, preferring the ancients. 
In fact, he derived more pleasure from his acquaintance with 
Greek and Latin than from any other resource of literature, 
and I have often heard him express his gratitude to his fa- 
ther for causing him to receive a classical education. I saw 
him more frequently with a volume of the classics in his hand 
than with any other book. Still he read new publications as 
they came out, never missed the new number of a review, es- 
pecially of the Edinburgh, and kept himself acquainted with 
what was being done, said, or thought in the world from 
which he had retired. 

He loved farming and gardening, the fields, the orchards, 
and his asparagus-beds-. Every day he rode through his 
plantation and walked in his garden. In the cultivation of 
the last he took great pleasure. Of flowers, too, he was 
very fond. One of my early recollections is of the attention 
which he paid to his flower-beds. *He kept up a correspond- 
ence with persons in the large cities, particularly, I think, in 
Philadelphia, for the purpose of receiving supplies of roots 
and seeds both for his kitchen and flower garden. I remem- 
ber well, when he first returned to Monticello, how immedi- 
ately he began to prepare new beds for his flowers. He had 
these beds laid off .on the lawn, under the windows, and 
many a time I have run after him when he went out to di- 
rect the work, accompanied by one of his gardeners, gener- 
ally Wormley, armed with spade and hoe, while he himself 
carried the measuring-line. i 

I was too young to aid him, except in a small way, but my 
sister, Mrs. Bankhead, then a young and beautiful woman, 
was his active and useful assistant. I remember the plant- 
ing of the first hyacinths and tulips, and their subsequent 
growth. The roots arrived labelled, each one -with a fancy 
name. There was " Marcus Aurelius " and the " King of the 
Gold Mine," the " Roman Empress " and the " Queen of the 
Amazons," " Psyche," the " God of Love," etc., etc. Eager- 
ly, and with childish delight, I studied this brilliant nomen- 
clature, and wondered what strange and surprisingly beau- 
tiful creations I should see arising from the ground when 


spring returned ; and these precious roots were committed to 
the earth under my grandfather's own eye, with his beauti- 
fiil grand-daughter Anne standing by his side, and a crowd 
of happy young faces, of younger grandchildren, clustering 
round to see the progress, and inquire anxiously the name 
of each separate deposit. 

Then, when spring returned, how eagerly we watched the 
first appearance of the shoots above ground. Each root 
was marked with its own name written on a bit of stick by 
its side ; and what joy it was for one of us to discover the 
tender green breaking through the mould, and run to grand- 
papa to announce that we really believed Marcus Aurelius 
was -coming up, or the Queen of the Amazons was above 
ground ! "With how much pleasure, compounded of our 
pleasure and" his own, on the new birth, he would immedi- 
ately go out to verify the fact, and praise us for our diligent 

Then, when the flowers were in bloom, and we were in 
ecstasies over the rich purple and crimson, or pure white, or 
delicate lilac, or pale yellow of the blossoms, how he would 
sympathize with our admiration, or discuss with my mother 
and elder sister new groupings and combinations and con- 
trasts. Oh, these were happy moments for us and for him ! 

It was in the morning, immediately after our early break- 
fast, that he used to visit his flower-beds and his garden. 
As the day, in summer, grew warmer, he retired to his own 
apartments, which consisted of a bed-chamber and library 
opening into each other. Here he remained until about one 
o'clock, occupied in reading, writing, looking over papers, 
etc. My mother would sometimes send me with a message 
to him. A gentle knock, a call of "Come in," and I would 
enter, with a mixed feeling of love and reverence, and some 
pride in being the bearer of a communication to one whom I 
approached with all the affection of a child, and something 
of the loyalty of a subject. Our mother educated all her 
children to look tip to her father, as she looked up to him 
herself literally looked up, as. to one standing on an emi- 
nence of greatness and goodness. And it is no small proof 
of his real elevation that, as we grew older and better able 
to judge for ourselves, we were more and more confirmed in 
the opinions we had formed of it. 


* About one o'clock my grandfather rode out, and was ab- 
sent, perhaps, two hours; when he returned to prepare for 
his dinner, which was about half-past 'three o'clock. He sat 
some time at table, and after dinner returned for a while to 
his room, from which he emerged before sunset to walk on 
the terrace or the lawn, to see his grandchildren run races, or 
to converse with his family and friends. The evenings, after 
candle-light, he passed with us, till about ten o'clock. He had 
his own chair and his own candle a little apart from the rest, 
where he sat reading, if there were no guests to require his 
attention, but often laying his book on his little round table 
or his knee, while he talked with my mother, the elder mem- 
bers of the family, or any child old enough to make one of 
the family-party. I always did, for I was the most active 
and the most lively of the young folks, and most wont to 
thrust myself forward into notice. 

-, 185-. 

My dear Mr. Randall With regard to Mr. Jefferson's con- 
duct and manners in his family, after I was old enough to 
form any judgment of it, I can only repeat what I have said 
before and I say it calmly and advisedly, with no spirit of 
false enthusiasm or exaggeration I have never known any- 
where, under any circumstances, so good a domestic charac- 
ter as my grandfather Jefferson's. I have the testimony of 
his sisters and his daughter that he was, in all the relations 
of private life, at all times, just what he was when I knew 
him. My mother was ten years old when her mother died. 
Her impression was, that her father's conduct as a husband 
had been admirable in its ensemble, charming in its detail. 
She 'distinctly recalled her mother's passionate attachment to 
him, and her exalted opinion of him. On one occasion she 
heard her blaming him for some generous acts which had 
met with an ungrateful return. "But," she exclaimed, "it 
was always so with him ; he is so good himself, that he can 
not understand how bad other people may be." 

On one occasion my mother had been punished for some 
fault, not harshly nor unjustly, but in a way to make an im- 
pression. Some little time after, her mother being displeased 
with her for some trifle, reminded her in a slightly taunt- 
ing way of this painful past. She was deeply mortified, her 


heart swelled, her eyes filled with, tears, she turned away, 
"but she heard her father say in a kind tone to her mother, 
" My dear, a fault in so young a child once punished should 
he forgotten." My mother told me she could never forget 
the warm gush of gratitude that filled her childish heart at 
these words, probably not intended for her ear. THese are 

trifling details, but they show character. 

My grandfather's manners to us, his grandchildren, were 
delightful; I can characterize them by no other word. He 
talked with us freely, affectionately ; never lost an opportu- 
nity of giving a pleasure or a good lesson. He reproved 
without wounding us, and commended without making us 
vain. He took pains to correct our errors and false ideas, 
checked the bold, encouraged the timid, and tried to teach 
us to reason soundly and feel rightly. Our smaller follies 
he treated with good-humored raillery, our graver ones with 
kind and serious admonition. He was watchful over our 
manners, and called our attention to every violation of pro- 
priety. He did not interfere with our education, technically 
so called, except by advising us what studies to pursue, 
what books to read, and by questioning us on the books 
which we did read. 

I was thrown most into companionship with him. I loved 
him very devotedly, and sought every opportunity of being 
with- him. As a child, I used to follow him about, and draw 
as near to him as I could. I remember when I was small 
enough to sit on his knee and play with his watch-chain. 
As a girl, I would join him. in his walks on the terrace, sit 
with him over the fire daring the winter twilight, or by 
the open windows in summer. As child, girl, and woman, I 
loved and honored him above all earthly beings. And well 
I might. From him seemed to flow all the pleasures of my 
life. To him I owed all the small blessings and joyful sur- 
prises of my childish and girlish years. His nature was so 
eminently sympathetic, that, with those he loved, he could 
enter into their feelings, anticipate their wishes, gratify their 
tastes, and surround them with an atmosphere of affection. 

I was fond of riding, and was rising above that childish 
simplicity when, provided I was mounted on a horse, I cared 
nothing for my equipments, and when an old saddle or bro- 
ken bridle were matters of no moment. I was beginning to 


be fastidious, but I had never told my wishes. .1 was stand- 
ing one bright day in the portico, when a man rode up to 
the door with a beautiful lady's saddle and bridle before 
him. My heart bounded. These coveted articles were de- 
posited at my feet. My grandfather came out of his room 
to tell me they were mine. 

When about fifteen years old, I began to think of a watch, 
but knew the state of my father's' finances promised no such 
indulgence. One afternoon the letter-bag was brought in. 
Among the letters was a small packet addressed to my 
grandfather. It had the Philadelphia mark upon it. I look- 
ed at it with indifferent, incurious eye. Three hours after, 
an elegant lady's watch, with chain and seals, was in my 
hand, which trembled for very joy. My Bible came from 
him, iny Shakspeare, my first writing-table, my first hand- 
some writing-desk, my first Leghorn hat, my first silk dress. 
What, in short, of all my small treasures did not come from 

My sisters, according to their wants and tastes, were equal- 
ly thought of, equally provided for. Our grandfather seem- 
ed to read our hearts, to see our invisible wishes, to be our 
good genius, to wave the fairy wand, to brighten our young 
lives by his goodness and his gifts. But I have written 
enough for this time ; and, indeed, what can I say hereafter 
but to repeat the same tale of love and kindness 

I remain, my dear Mr. Randall, very truly yours, 


The following contains the reminiscences of a younger 
grand-daughter of Jefferson: 

St. Servau, France, May 26th, 1839. 

Faithful to my promise, dearest , I shall spend an hour 

every Sunday in writing all my childish recollections of my 
dear grandfather which are sufficiently distinct to relate to 
you. My memory seems crowded with them, and they have 
the vividness of realities ; but all are trifles in themselves, 
such as I might talk to you by the hour, but when I have 
taken up my pen, they seem almost too childish to write 
down. But these remembrances are precious to me, because 
they are of him^ and because they restore him to me as 
he then. was, when his cheerfulness and affection were the 


warm sun in which his family all basked and were invigo- 
rated* Cheerfulness, love, benevolence, wisdom, seemed to 
animate his whole form. His face beamed with them. You 
remember how active was his step, how lively, and even 
playful, were his manners. 

I can not describe the feelings of veneration, admiration, 
and love that existed in my heart towards him. I looked 
on him as a being too great and good for my comprehen- 
sion ; and yet I felt no fear to approach him and be taught 
by him some of the childish sports that I delighted in. 
When he walked in the garden and would call the children 
to go with him, we raced after and before him, and we were 
made perfectly happy by this permission to accompany him. 
Not one of us, in our wildest moods, ever placed a foot on 
one of the garden-beds, for that would violate one of his 
rules, and yet I never heard him utter a harsh word to one 
of us, or speak in a raised tone of voice, or use a threat. He 
simply sai^, "Do," or "Do not." He would gather fruit for 
us, seek out the ripest figs, or bring down the cherries from 
on high above our heads with a long stick, at the end of 
which there was a hook and little net bag 

One of our earliest amusements was in running races on 
the terrace, or around the lawn. He placed us according to 
our ages, giving the youngest and smallest the start of all 
the others by some yards, and so on ; and then he raised his 
arm high, with his white handkerchief in his hand, on which 
our eager eyes were fixed, and slowly counted three, at which 
number he dropped the handkerchief, and we started off to 
finish the race by returning to the starting-place and receiv- 
ing our reward of dried fruit three figs, prunes, or dates to 
the victor, two to the second, and one to the lagger who 
came in last. These were our summer sports with him. 

I was born the year he was elected President, and, except 
one winter that we spent with him in Washington, I never 
was with him during that season until after he had retired 
from office. During his absences, all the children who could 
write corresponded with him. Their letters were duly an- 
swered, and it was a sad mortification to me that I had not 
learned to write before his return to live at home, and of 
course had no letter from him. Whenever an opportunity 
occurred, he sent us books ; and he never saw a little story 


or piece of poetry in a newspaper, suited to our ages and 
tastes, that he did not preserve it and send it to us ; and 
from him we learnt the habit of making these miscellaneous 
collections, by pasting in a little paper book made for the 
purpose any thing of the sort that we received from him or 
got otherwise. 

On winter evenings, when it grew too dark to read, in the 
half hour which passed before candles came in, as we all 
sat round the fire, he taught us several childish games, and 
would play them with us. I remember that "Cross-ques- 
tions," and " I love my Love with an A," were two I learned 
from him ; and we would teach some of ours to him. 

When the candles were brought, all was quiet immediate- 
ly, for he took up his book to read ; and we would not speak 
out of a whisper, lest we should disturb him, and generally 
we followed his example and took a book ; and I have seen 
him raise his eyes from his own book, and look round on the 
little circle of readers and* smile, and make some remark to 
mamma about it. When the snow fell, we would go out, as 
soon as it stopped, to clear it off the terraces with shovels, 
that he might have his usual walk on them without tread- 
ing in snow. 

He often made us little presents. I remember his giving 
us " Parents' Assistant," and that we drew lots, and that 
she who drew the longest straw had the first reading of the 
book ; the next longest straw entitled the drawer to the sec- 
ond reading ; the shortest to the last reading, and ownership 
of the book. 

Often he discovered, we knew not how, some cherished ob- 
ject of our desires, and the first intimation we had of his 
knowing the wish was its unexpected gratification. Sister 
Anne gave a silk dress to sister Ellen. Cornelia (then eight 
or ten years old), going up stairs, involuntarily expressed 
aloud some feelings which possessed her bosom on the occa- 
sion, by saying, " I never had a silk dress in my life." The 
next day a silk dress came from Charlottesville to Cornelia, 
and (to make the rest of us equally happy) also a pair of pret- 
ty dresses for Mary and myself. One day I was passing has- 
tily through the glass door from the hall to the portico ; there 
was a broken pane which caught my muslin dress and tore 
it sadly. Grandpapa was standing by and saw the disaster. 


A few days after, lie came into mamma's sitting-room with 
a bundle in his hand, and said to me, " I have been mending 
your dress for you." He had himself selected for me anoth- 
er beautiful dress. I had for a long time a great desire to 
have a guitar. A lady of our neighborhood was going to 
the West, and wished to part with her guitar, but she asked 
so high a price that I never in my dreams aspired to its pos- 
session. One morning, on going down to breakfast, I saw the 

guitar. It had been sent up by Mrs. for us to look at, 

and grandpapa told me that if I would promise to learn to 
play on it I should have it. I never shall forget my ecsta- 
sies. I was but fourteen years old, and the first wish of my 

heart was unexpectedly gratified 




Letter to his Grand-daughter, Mrs. Bankhead. To Dr. Eush. To Duane. 
Anxiety to reopen Correspondence with John Adams. Letter to Benja- 
min Rush. Old Letter from Mrs. Adams. Letter from Benjamin Rush. 
Letter from John Adams. The Reconciliation. Character of Washing- 

, ton. Devotion to him. Letter to Say. State of Health. Labors of 
Correspondence. Cheerfulness of his Disposition. Baron Grimour. 
Catherine of Russia. Ledyard. Letter to Mrs. Trist. To John Adams. 
Gives Charge of his Affairs to his Grandson. Letter to his Grandson, 
Francis Eppes. Description of Monticello by Lieutenant Hall. Letter to 
Mrs. Adams. Her Death. Beautiful Letter"to Mr. Adams. Letter to Dr. 
Utley. Correspondence with Mrs. Cosway. 

THE extracts from Jefferson's letters which I give in this 
chapter the reader will find to be of unusual interest. 
Among his family letters I find the following touching note 
to one of his grand-daughters. . 

To Mrs. Anne C. Bankhead. 

Monticello, May 26th, 1811. 

My dear Anne I have just received a copy of the Modern 
Griselda, which Ellen tells me will not be unacceptable to 
you ; I therefore inclose it. The heroine presents herself cer- 
tainly as a perfect model of ingenious perverseness, and of 
the art of making herself and others unhappy. If it can be 
made of use in inculcating the virtues and felicities of life, 
it must be by the rule of contraries. 

Nothing new has happened in our neighborhood since you 
left us ; the houses and the, trees stand where they did ; the 
flowers come forth like the belles of the day, have their short 
reign of beauty and splendor, and retire, like them, to the 
more interesting office of reproducing their like. The Hya- 
cinths and Tulips are off the stage, the Irises are giving place 
to the Belladonnas, as these will to the Tuberoses, etc. ; as 
your mamma has done to you, my dear Anne, as you will do 
to the sisters of little John, and as I shall soon and cheerful- 
ly do to you all in wishing you a long, long good-night. 
Present me respectfully to Doctor and Mrs. Bankhead, and 


accept for Mr. Bankhead and yourself the assurances of my 
cordial affections, not forgetting that Cornelia shares them. 


In January, 1811, Dr. Ruph, in a friendly letter to Mr. Jef- 
ferson, expressed regret at the suspension of intercourse be- 
tween Mr. Adams and himself. Jefferson's letter in reply is 
one of the most charming he ever wrote. 

To Benjamin Rush. [Metract.'] 

I receive with sensibility your observations on the dis-* 
continuance of friendly correspondence between Mr. Adams 
and myself, and the concern you take in its restoration. This 
discontinuance has not proceeded from me, nor from the want 
of sincere desire and of effort on my part to renew our inter- 
course. You know the perfect coincidence of principle and 
of action, in the early part of the Revolution, which produced 
a high degree, of mutual respect and esteem between Mr. 
Adams and myself. Certainly no man was ever truer than 
he was, in that day, to those principles of rational republic- 
anism which, after the necessity of throwing off our mon- 
archy, dictated all our efforts in the establishment of a new 
Government. And although he swerved afterwards to- 
wards the principles of the English Constitution, our friend- 
ship did not abate on that account. While he was Vice-, 
president, and I Secretary of State, I received a letter from 
President Washington, then at Mount Yernon, desiring me 
to call together the Heads of Department, and to invite Mr. 
Adams to join us (which, by-the-by, was the only instance 
of that being done), in order to determine on some measure 
which required dispatch ; and he desired me to act on it, as 
decided, without again recurring to him. I invited them to 
dine with me, and after dinner, sitting at our wine, having 
settled our question, other conversation came on, in which a 
collision of opinion arose between Mr. Adams and Colonel 
Hamilton on the merits of the British Constitution ; Mr. 
Adams giving it as his opinion that, if some of its defects 
and abuses were corrected, it would be the most perfect con- 
stitution of government ever devised by man. Hamilton, 
on the contrary, asserted that, with its existing vices, it was 
the most perfect model of government that could be formed, 


and that the correction of its vices would render it an im- 
practicable government. And this, you may be assured, was 
the real line of difference between the political principles of 
these two gentlemen. 

Another incident took place on the same occasion, which 
will further delineate Mr. Hamilton's political principles. 
The room being hung around with a collection of the por- 
traits of remarkable men, among them were those of Bacon, 
Newton, and Locke. Hamilton asked me who they were. 
I told him they were my trinity of the three greatest men 
the world had ever produced, naming them. He paused for 
some time : " The greatest man," said he, " that ever lived 
was Julius Caesar." Mr. Adams was honest as a politician, 
as well as a man ; Hamilton honest as a man, but, as a pol- 
itician, believing in the necessity of either force or corrup- 
tion to govern men. 

Writing to Colonel Duane in the same year, speaking of 
the state of the country and differences of opinion, he says : 
" These, like differences of face, are a law of our nature, and 
should be viewed with the same tolerance. The clouds 
which have appeared for some time to be gathering around 
us have given me anxiety, lest an enemy, always on the 
watch, always prompt and firm, and acting in well-disci- 
plined p*halanx, should find an opening to dissipate hopes, 
with the loss of which I would wish that of life itself. To 
myself, personally, the sufferings would be short. The pow- 
ers of life have declined with me more in the last six months 
than, in as many preceding years. A rheumatic indisposi- 
tion, under which your letter found me, has caused this de- 
lay in acknowledging its receipt." 

In a letter of December 5th, 1811, to Dr.'Benjamin Rush, 
Jefferson, after alluding to letters from him, wherein he ex- 
presses a desire to bring about a reconciliation between Mr. 
Adams and himself, says : 

To Benjamin Hush. 

Two of the Mr. Coles, my neighbors and friends, took a 
tour to the northward during the last summer. La Boston 


they fell into company with Mr. Adams, and by his invita- 
tion passed a day with him at Braintree. He spoke out to 
them every thing which came uppermost, and as it occurred 
to his mind, without any reserve ; and seemed most disposed 
to dwell on .those things which happened during his own 
Administration. He spoke of his masters, as he called his 
Heads of Departments, as acting above his control, and oft- 
en against his opinions. Among many other topics, he ad- 
verted to the unprincipled licentiousness of the press against 
myself, adding, "I always loved Jefferson, and still love 

This is enough for me. I only needed this knowledge to 
revive towards him all the affections of the most cordial mo- 
ments of our lives I wish, therefore, but for an appo- 
site occasion to express to Mr. Adams my unchanged affec- 
tion for him. There is an awkwardness which -hangs over 
the resuming a correspondence so long discontinued, unless 
something could arise which should call for a letter. Time 
and chance may perhaps generate such an occasion, of which 
I shall not be wanting in promptitude to avail myself. 
From this fusion of mutual affections, Mrs. Adams is, of 
course, separated. It will only be necessary that I never 
name her.* In your letters to Mr. Adams you can perhaps 

* It should here be shown that the coldness between Jefferson and Mrs. 
Adams was but a temporary interruption of a friendship which lasted for 
fully forty years, closed only by the death of Mrs. Adams, in 1818. The 
following letter from Mrs. Adams, written in 1786, will evince the friendship 
which then, and for years before, existed between her and Jefferson. Here- 
inbefore, at page 304 of this volume, will be found a letter of condolence 
from Mrs. Adams to Jefferson, upon the death of his daughter, Maria Jef- 
ferson Eppes (1804) ; and hereafter, at page 368, Jefferson's last letter to 
Mrs. Adams, written in 1817 ; followed by Jefferson's letter of condolence to 
John Adams (November, 1818), upon the death of Mrs. Adams. 

From Mrs. Adams. 

London, Grosvenor Square, Feb. llth, 1786. 

Col. Humphries talks of leaving us on Monday. It is with regret, I assure 
you, Sir, that we part with him. His visit here'has given us an opportunity 
of ^becoming more acquainted with his real worth and merit, and our friend"- 
ship for him has risen in proportion to our intimacy. The two American Sec- 
retaries of Legation would do honor to then* country placed in more distin- 
guished stations. Yet these missions abroad, circumscribed as they are in 
point of expenses, place the ministers of the United States in the lowest point 
of view of any envoy from any other Court; and in Europe every being is es- 
timated, and every country valued, in proportion to'their show and splendor. 
In a private station I have not a wish for expensive living, but, whatever my 


suggest my continued cordiality towards him, and, knowing 
this, should an occasion of writing first present itself to him, 
he will perhaps avail himself of it, as I certainly will, should 
it first occur to me. No ground for jealousy now existing, 
he will certainly give fair play to the natural warmth of his 
heart. Perhaps I may open the way in some letter to my 
old friend Gerry, who, I know, is in habits of the greatest 
intimacy with him, I have thus, my friend, laid my heart 
open to you, because you were so kind as to take an interest 
in healing again Revolutionary affections, which have ceased 
in expression only, but not in their existence. God ever 
bless you, and preserve you in life and health. 

To this letter Dr. Rush replied as follows : 

From Benjamin Rush. [M&tract."] 

Philadelphia, Dec. 17th, 1811. 

My dear old Friend Yours of December 5th came to 
hand yesterday. I was charmed with the subject of it. In 

fair countrywomen may think, and I hear they envy my situation, I will most 
joyfully exchange Europe for America, and my public for a private life. I am 
really surfeited with Europe,. and most heartily long for the rural cottage, the 
purer and honester manners of my native land, where domestic happiness 
reigns unrivalled, and virtue and honor go hand in hand. I hope one season 
more will give us an opportunity of making our escape. At present we are in 
the situation of Sterne's starling. 

Congress have by the last dispatches informed this Court that they expect 
them to appoint a minister. It is said (not officially) that Mr. Temple is 
coldly received, that no Englishman has visited him, and the Americans are 
not very social with him. But as Colonel Humphries will be able to give you 
every intelligence, there can be no occasion for my adding any thing further 
than to acquaint you that I have endeavored to execute your commission 
agreeably to your directions. Enclosed you will find the memorandum. I 
purchased a small trunk, which I think you will find useful to you to put the 
shirts in, as they will not be liable to get rubbed on the journey. If the bal- 
ance should prove in my favor, I will request you to send me 4 ells of cam- 
bric at about 14 livres per ell or 15, a pair of black lace lappets these are 
what the ladies wear at court and 12 ells of black lace at 6 or 7 livres per 
ell. Some gentleman coming this way will be so kind as to put them in his 
pocket, and Mrs. Barclay, I dare say, will take the trouble of purchasing them, 
for me ; for troubling you with such trifling matters is a little like putting 
Hercules to the distaff. 

My love to Miss Jefferson, and compliments to Mr. Short. Mrs. Siddons 
is acting again upon the stage, and I hope Colonel Humphries will prevail 
with you to cross the Channel to see her. Be assured, dear Sir, that nothing 
would give more pleasure to your friends here than a visit from you, and in 
that number I claim the honor of subscribing myself, A. ADAMS. 

[4 pair of shoes for Miss Adams, by the person who made Mrs. A.'s, 2 of satin and 2 
of spring silk, without straps, and of the most fashionable colors.] 


order to hasten the object you have suggested, I sat down 
last evening and selected such passages from your letter as 
contained the kindest expressions of regard for Mr. Adams, 
aritt transmitted them to him. My letter which contained 
them was concluded, as nearly as I can recollect, for I kept 
no copy of it, with the following words : " Fellow-laborers, 
in erecting the fabric of American liberty and independence! 
fellow-sufferers in the calumnies and falsehoods of party rage! 
fellow-heirs of the gratitude and affection of posterity ! and 
fellow-passengers in the same stage which must soon convey 
you both into the presence of a Judge with whom forgive- 
ness and love of enemies is the only condition of your ac- 
ceptance, embrace embrace each other bedew your letter 
of reconciliation with tears of affection and joy. Let there 
be no retrospect of your past differences. Explanations may 
be proper between contending lovers, but they are never so 
between divided friends. Were I near you, I would put a 
pen in your hand, and guide it while it wrote the following 
note to Mr. Jefferson : c My dear old friend and fellow-labor- 
er in the cause of the liberties and independence of our com- 
mon country, I salute you with the most cordial good wish- 
es for your health and happiness. ' JOHN ADAMS.' " 

Jefferson's hopes were realized by receiving early in the 
year 1812 a letter from Mr. Adams. It is pleasing to see 
with what eagerness he meets this advance from his old . 
friend. In his reply he says : 

To John Adams. 

A letter from you calls up recollections very dear to my 
mind. It carries me back to the times when, beset with dif- 
ficulties and dangers, we were fellow-laborers in the same 
cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right 
of self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with 
some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us, and yet 
passing harmless under our bark, we knew not how, we rode 
through the storm with heart and hand, and made a happy 

port But whither is senile garrulity leading me? 

Into politics, of which I have taken final leave. I think lit- 
tle of them, and say less. I have given up newspapers in 
exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Eu- 


clid, and I find myself much the happier. Sometimes, in- 
deed, I look back to former occurrences, in remembrance of 
our old friends and fellow-laborers who have fallen before 
us. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, I 
see now living not more than half a dozen on your side of 
the Potomac, and, on this side, myself alone. 

You and I have been wonderfully spared, and myself with 
remarkable health, and a considerable activity of body and 
mind. I am on horseback three or four hours of every day ; 
visit three or four times a year a possession I have ninety 
miles distant, performing the winter journey on* horseback. 
I walk little, however, a single mile being too much for me.; 
and I live in the midst of my grandchildren, one of whom 
has lately promoted me to be a great-grandfather. I have 
heard with pleasure that you also retain good health, and a 
greater power of exercise in walking than I do. But I 
would rather have heard this from yourself, and that, writing 
a letter like mine, full of egotisms, and of details of your 
health, your habits, occupations, and enjoyments, I should 
have the pleasure of knowing that in the race of life you do 
not keep, in its physical decline, the same distance ahead of 
me which you have done in political honors and achieve- 
ments. No circumstances have lessened the interest I feel 
in these particulars respecting yourself; none have suspend- 
ed for one moment my sincere esteem for you, and I now 
salute you with unchanged affection and respect. 

Mr. Adams having had some affliction in his household, 
Mr. Jefferson, at the close of a letter written to him in Octo- 
ber, 1813, says: 

To John Adams. 

On the subject of the postscript of yours of August the 
16th, and of Mrs. Adams's letter, I am silent. I know the 
depth of the affliction it has caused, and can sympathize 
with it the more sensibly, inasmuch as there is no degree of 
affliction, produced by the loss of those dear to us, which ex- 
perience has not taught me to estimate. I have ever found 
time and silence the only medicine, and these but assuage, 
they never can suppress, the deep-drawn sigh which .recol- 
lection forever brings up, until recollection and life are ex- 
tinguished together. 


In a letter written to Dr. Walter Jones on the 2d of Janu- 
ary, 1814, we have one of the most beautiful descriptions of 
character to he found in the English language, and the most 
heartfelt trihute to General Washington which has ever 
flowed from the pen of any man. Jefferson writes : 

Jefferson's Character of Washington. 

You say that in taking General Washington on your 
shoulders, to "bear him harmless through the Federal coali- 
tion, you Encounter a perilous topic. I do not think so. 
You have given the genuine history of the course of his 
mind through the trying scenes in which it was engaged, 
and of the seductions by which it was deceived, but not de- 
praved. I think I knew General Washington intimately 
and thoroughly ; and were I called on to delineate his char- 
acter, it should he in terms like these : 

His mind was great and powerful without being of the 
very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute 
as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke ; and, as far as he saw, 
no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, 
being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in 
conclusion. Hence the common remark of his officers, of the 
advantage he derived from councils of war, where, hearing all 
suggestions, he selected whatever was best ; and certainly no 
general ever planned his battles more judiciously. But if 
deranged during the course of the action, if any member of 
his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstances, he was slow 
in a readjustment. " The consequence was, that he often fail- 
ed in the field, and rarely against an enemy in station, as at 
Boston and York. He was, incapable of fear, meeting per- 
sonal danger with the calmest unconcern. 

Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was pru- 
dence, never acting until every circumstance, every consider- 
ation, was maturely weighed ; refraining if he saw a doubt, 
but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, 
whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, 
his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives 
of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being 
able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of 
the words, a wise, a good, and a great man. His temper was 


naturally irritable and high-toned; but reflection and reso- 
lution had obtained a firm and habitual ascendency over 
it. If ever, however, it broke its bonds, he was most tre- 
mendous in his wrath. In his expenses he was honor- 
able, but exact ; liberal in contribution to whatever prom- 
ised utility; but frowning and unyielding on all visionary 
projects, and all unworthy calls on his charity. His heart 
was not warm in its affections ; but he exactly calculated 
every man's value, and gave him a solid esteem proportioned 
to it. 

Has person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what 
one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble ; the 
best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that 
could be seen on horseback. 

Although in the circle of his friends, where he might be 
unreserved with safety, he took a free share in conversation, 
his colloquial talents were not above mediocrity, possessing 
neither copiousness of ideas nor fluency of words. In public, 
when called on for a sudden opinion, he was unready, short, 
and embarrassed. Yet he wrote readily, rather diffusely, in 
an easy and correct style. This he had acquired by conver- 
sation with the world, for his education was merely reading, 
writing, and common arithmetic, to which he added survey- 
ing at a later day. His time was employed in action chief- 
ly, reading little, and that only in agriculture and English 
history* His correspondence became necessarily extensive, 
and, with journalizing his agricultural proceedings, occupied 
most of his leisure hours within-doors. 

On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect; in 
nothing bad, in few points indifferent.; and it may truly be 
said, that never did nature and fortune combine more per- 
fectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same 
constellation with whatever worthies have merited from 
man an everlasting remembrance. For his was the singular 
destiny and merit of leading the armies of his country suc- 
cessfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of 
its independence; of conducting its councils through the 
birth of a Government new in its forms and principles, until 
it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train ; and of 
scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his car 
reer, civil and military, of which the history of the world fur- 


nishes no other example. How, then, can it be perilous for 

you to take such a man on your shoulders ? 

He has often declared to me that he considered our new 
Constitution as an experiment on the practicability of repub- 
lican government, and with what dose of liberty man could 
be trusted for his own good ; that he was determined the 
experiment should have a fair trial, and would lose the last 

drop of his blood in support of it I do believe that 

General Washington had not a firm confidence in the dura- 
bility of our Government I felt on his death, with 

my countrymen, that " Verily a great man hath fallen this 
day in Israel" 

The following pleasing anecdote in relation to Jefferson's 
devotion to Washington is remembered by his family. 
Long years after he had retired from public life, some ad- 
mirer of Jefferson's, who lived in France, sent a wreath of 
immortelles to a member of the family at Monticello, with 
the request that it might be placed round his brow on his 
birthday. Jefferson ordered it to be placed, instead, on 
Washington's bust, where it 'ever afterwards rested. 

On another occasion, while riding after night with a mem- 
ber of his family, the conversation fell upon Washington. 
Mr. Jefferson was warm, in his expressions of praise and love 
for him, and finally, in a burst of enthusiasm, exclaimed, 
" Washington's fame will go on increasing until the bright- 
est constellation in yonder heavens shall be called by his 
name !" 

How different was the education in which such men as 
Washington and Jefferson were trained from the more mod- 
ern system, so happily criticised by the latter, in the follow- 
ing extract from a letter to John Adams, bearing date July 

To John Adams. 

But why am I dosing you with these antediluvian topics ? 
Because I am glad to have some one to whom they are fa- 
miliar, and who will not receive them as if dropped from the 
moon. Our post-revolutionary youth are born under happier 


stars than you and I were. They acquire all learning in 
their mother's womb, and bring it into the world ready- 
made. The information of books is no longer necessary; 
and all knowledge which is not innate is in contempt, or neg- 
lect at least. Every folly must run its round; and so, I sup- 
pose, must that of self-learning and self-sufficiency ; of reject- 
ing the knowledge acquired in past ages, and starting on the 
new ground of intuition. When sobered by experience, I 
hope our successors will turn their attention to the advan- 
tages of education I mean of education on the broad scale, 
and not that of the petty academies, as they call themselves, 
which are starting up in every neighborhood, and where one 
or two men, possessing Latin and sometimes Greek, a knowl- 
edge of the globes, and the first six books of Euclid, imagine 
and communicate this as the sum of science. They commit 
their pupils to the theatre of the world with just taste 
enough of learning to be alienated from industrious pursuits, 
and not enough to do service in the ranks of science. 

The following to an old friend finds a place here 

To Mrs. Trist. 

Monticello, Dec. 26th, 1814. 

My good Friend The mail between us passes very slowly. 
Tour letter of November 17 reached this place on the 14th 
inst. only. I think while you were writing it the candle 
must have burnt blue, and that a priest or some other con- 
jurer should have 'been called in to exorcise your room. To 
be serious, however, your view of things is more gloomy than 
necessary. True, we are at war that that war was unsuc- 
cessful by land the first year, but honorable the same year 
by sea, and equally by sea and land ever since. Our re- 
sources, both of men and money, are abundant, if wisely 
called forth and administered. I acknowledge that expe- 
rience does not as yet seem to have led our Legislatures into 
the best course of either 

I think, however, there will be peace. The negotiators at 
Ghent are agreed in every thing except as to a rag of Maine, 
which we can not yield nor they seriously care about, but it 
serves them to hold by until they can hear what the Con- 
vention of Hartford will do. When they shall see, as they 


will see, that nothing is done there, they will let go their 
hold, and we shall have peace on the status ante bettum, 
You have seen that Vermont and New Hampshire refuse to 
join the mutineers, and Connecticut does it with a " saving 
of her duty to the Federal Constitution." Do you believe 
that Massachusetts, on the good faith and aid of little Rhode 
Island, will undertake a war against the rest of the Union and 
the half of herself ? Certainly never so much for politics. 

We are all well, little and big, young and old. Mr. and 
Mrs. Divers enjoy very so-so health, but keep about. Mr. 
Randolph had the command of a select corps during sum- 
mer; but that has been discharged some time. We are 
feeding our horses with our wheat, and looking at the taxes 
coming on us as an approaching wave in a storm; still I 
think we Shall live as long, eat as much, and drink as much, 
as if the wave had already glided under our ship. Some- 
how or other these things find their way out as they come 
in, and so I suppose they will now. God bless you, and give 
you health, happiness, and hope, the real comforters of this 

nether world. 


In a letter to Csesar A. Rodney, inviting a visit from him, 
and written on March 16th, 1815, he says: "You will find 
me in habitual good health, great contentedness, enfeebled 
in body, impaired in memory, but without decay in my 

In a letter written to Jean Baptiste Say a few days earlier 
than the one just quoted, he speaks thus of the society of the 
country around him : " The society is much better than is 
common in country situations ; perhaps there is not a better 
country society in the United States. But do not imagine' 
this a Parisian or an academical society. It consists of plain, 
honest, and rational neighbors, some of them well-informed, 
and men of reading, all superintending their farms, hospita- 
ble and friendly, and speaking nothing but English. The 
manners of. every nation are the standard of orthodoxy 
within itself. But these standards being arbitrary, reason- 
able people in all allow free toleration for the manners, as 
for the religion, of others." 


We get a glimpse of the state of his health and his daily 
habits in a letter written to a friend in the spring of 1816. 
He writes : 

I retain good health, and am rather feeble to walk much, 
but ride with ease, passing two or three hours a day on 
horseback,* and every three or four months taking, in a car- 
riage, a journey of ninety miles to a distant possession, where 
I pass a good deal of my time. My eyes need the aid of 
glasses by night, and, with small print, in the day also. My 
hearing is not quite so sensible as it used to be ; no tooth 
shaking yet, but shivering and shrinking in body from the 
cold are now experienced, my thermometer having been as 
low as 12 this morning. 

My greatest oppression is a correspondence afflictingly la- 
borious, the extent of which I have long been endeavoring 
to curtail. This keeps me at the drudgery of the writing- 
table all the prime hours of the day, leaving for the gratifi- 
cation of my appetite for reading only what I can steal from 
the hours of sleep. Could I reduce this epistolary corve"e 
within the limits of my friends and affairs, and' give the 
time redeemed from it to reading and reflection, to history, 
ethics, mathematics, my life would be as happy as the infirm- 
ities 'of age would admit, and I should look on its consumma- 
tion with the composure of one "qui sitmmum nee metuit 
diem nee qptat" 

The cheerfulness of his bright and happy temper gleams 
out in the following extract from a letter written a few 
months later to John Adams : 

To John Adams. 

You ask if I would agree to live my seventy, or, rather, 
sevefcty-three, years over again ? To which I say, yea. I 
think, with you, that it is a good world, on the whole ; that 
it has been framed on a principle of benevolence, and more 
pleasure than pain dealt out to us. There are, indeed (who 
might say nay), gloomy and hypochondriac minds, inhabit- 
ants of diseased bodies, disgusted with the present and de- 
spairing of the future ; always counting that the worst will 

* He was at this time in his seventy-third year. 


happen, "because it may happen. To these I say, how much 
pain -have cost us the evils which have never happened ! 
My temperament is sanguine. I steer my bark with Hope in 
the head, leaving Fear astern. My hopes, indeed, sometimes 
fail ; but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy. 
There are, I acknowledge, even in the happiest life, some ter- 
rible convulsions, heavy set-offs against the opposite page of 

the account 

Did I know Baron Grimm while at Paris? Yes, most 
intimately. He was the pleasantest and most conversable 
member of the diplomatic corps while I was there ; a man 
of good fancy, acuteness, irony, cunning, and egoism. No 
heart, not much of any science, yet enough of every one to 
speak its language ; his forte "was belles-lettres, painting, and 
sculpture. In these he was the oracle of the society, and, as 
such, was the Empress Catherine's private correspondent and 
factor in all things not diplomatic. It was through him I 
got her permission for poor Ledyard to go to Kamtschatka, 
and cross over thence to the western coast of America, in 
order to penetrate across our continent in the opposite di- 
rection to that afterwards adopted for Lewis and Clarke; 
which permission she withdrew after he had got within two 
hundred miles of Kamtschatka, had him seized, brought 
back, and set down in Poland. 

To Mrs. Trist. 

Poplar Forest, April 28th, 1816. 

I am here, my dear Madam, alive .and well, and, not- 
withstanding the murderous histories of the winter, I have 
not had an hour's sickness for a twelvemonth past. I feel 
myself indebted to the fable, however, for the friendly con- 
cern expressed in your letter, which I received in good 
health, by my fireside at Monticello. These stories will 
come true one of these days, and poor printer Davies need 
only reserve awhile the chapter of commiserations he had 
the labor to compose, and the mortification to recall, after 
striking off some sheets announcing to his readers the happy 
riddance. But, all joking apart, I am well, and left all well 
a fortnight ago at Monticello, to which I shall return in two 
or three days 

Jefferson, is gone to Richmond to bring home my new 


great-grand-daughter. Your friends, Mr. and Mrs, Divers, 
are habitually in poor health ; well enough only to receive 
visits, but not to return them ; and this, I think, is all our 
small news which can interest you. 

On the general scale of nations, the greatest wonder is 
Napoleon at St. Helena ; and yet it is where it would have 
been well for the lives and happiness of millions and millions, 
had he been deposited there twenty years ago. France 
would now have had a free Government, unstained by the 
enormities she has enabled him to commit on the rest of the 
world, and unprostrated by the vindictive hand, human or 
divine, now so heavily bearing upon her. She deserves 
much punishment, and her successes and reverses will be a 
wholesome lesson to the world hereafter ; but she has now 
had enough, and we may lawfully pray for her resurrection, 
and I am confident the day is not distant. No one who 
knows that people, and the elasticity of their character, can 
believe they will long remain crouched on the earth as at 
present They will rise by acclamation, and woe to their 
riders. What havoc are we not yet to see ! But these suf- 
ferings of all Europe will not be lost. A sense ,of the rights 
of man is gone forth, and all Europe will ere long have rep- 
resentative governments, more or less free 

We are better employed in establishing universities, col- 
leges, canals, roads, maps, etc. What do you say to all this ? 
Who could have believed the Old Dominion would have 
roused from her supineness, and taken such a scope at her 
first flight ? My only fear is that an hour of repentance 
may come, and nip in the bud the execution of conceptions 
so magnanimous. With my friendly respects to Mr. and 
Mrs. Gilmer, accept the assurance of my constant attach- 
ment and respect 


In a letter to John Adams, written at the beginning of the 
next year (1817), he complains bitterly of the burden of his 
extensive correspondence. 

To John Adams. 

f MonticeUo, Jan. llth, 1817. 

Dear Sir Forty-three volumes read in one year, and 
twelve of them quarto ! Dear Sir, how I envy you ! Half 


a dozen octavos in that space of time are as much as I am 
allowed, I can read by candle-light only, and stealing long 
hours from my rest; nor would that time be indulged to 
me, could I by that light see to write. Prom sunrise to one 
or two o'clock, and often from dinner to dark, I am drudging 
at the writing-table. All this to answer letters into which 
neither interest nor inclination on my part enters ; and often 
from persons whose names I have never before heard. Yet, 
writing civilly, it is hard to refuse them civil answers. This 
is the burthen of my life, a very grievpus one indeed, and 
one which I must get rid of. 

Delaplaine lately requested me to give him a line on the 
subject of his book ; meaning, as I well 'knew, to publish it. 
This I constantly refuse ; but in this instance yielded, that 
in saying a word for him I might say two for myself. I ex- 
pressed in it freely my sufferings from this source; hoping 
it would have the effect of an indirect appeal to the discre- 
tion of those, strangers and others, who, in the most friendly 
dispositions, oppress me with their concerns, their pursuits, 
their projects, inventions, and speculations, political, moral, 
religious, mechanical, mathematical, historical, etc., etc., etc. 
I hope the appeal will bring me relief, and that I shall be left 
to exercise and enjoy correspondence with the friends I love, 
and on subjects which they, or my own inclinations, present. 
In that case your letters shall not be so long on my files un- 
answered, as sometimes they have been to my great mortifi- 

From a letter to his son-in-law, Mr. Eppes, written the pre- 
vious year, I take the following extract : 

To John W.fippes. 

I am indeed an unskillful manager of my farms, and sensi- 
ble of this from its effects, I have now committed them to' 
better hands, of whose care and skill I have satisfactory 
knowledge, and to whom I have ceded the entire direction.* 
This is all that is necessary to make them adequate to all 
my wants, and to place me at entire ease. And for whom 

* The person here alluded to was his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Ban- 


should I spare in preference to Francis, on sentiments either 
of duty or affection ? I consider all my grandchildren as if 
they were my children, and want nothing but for them. It 
is impossible that I could reconcile it to my feelings, that he 
alone of them should be a stranger to my cares and contri- 

From this extract we learn that Mr. Jefferson had found 
the cares of his large estates too great a burden for him to 
carry in his advancing years, and gladly handed them over 
into the hands of the young grandson, in whose skill and en- 
ergy he expresses such perfect confidence. From this time 
until the day of Jefferson's death, we shall find this grand- 
son interposing himself, as far as possible, between his grand- 
father and his financial troubles, and trying to shield him, at 
least during his life, from the financial ruin which the cir- 
cumstances of his situation made unavoidable. With 'his 
usual sanguine temper, Jefferson did not appreciate the ex- 
tent to which his property was involved. 

In a letter to his young grandson, Francis Eppes, after 
alluding to his studies, he says : 

To Francis Hfypes. 

But while you endeavor, by a good store of learning, to 
prepare yourself to become a useful and distinguished mem- 
ber of your country, you must remember 'that this never can 
be without uniting merit with your learning. Honesty, dis- 
interestedness, and good-nature are indispensable to procure 
the esteem and confidence of those with whom we live, and 
on whose esteem our happiness depends. Never suffer a 
thought to be harbored in your mind which you would not 
avow openly. When tempted to do any thing in secret, ask 
yourself if you would do it in public ; if you would not, be , 
sure it is wrong. In little disputes with your companions-, 
give way rather than insist on trifles, for their love and the 
approbation of others will be worth more to you than the 
trifle in dispute. Above all things and at all times, practise 
yourself in good humor; this, of all human qualities, is the 
most amiable and endearing to society. Whenever you feel 
a warmth of temper rising, check it at once, and suppress it, 


recollecting it would make you unhappy within yourself and 
disliked by others. Nothing gives one person so great an 
advantage over another under all circumstances. Think of 
these things, practise them, and you will he rewarded by the 
love and confidence of the world. 

I have given, in the earlier pages of this work, the charm- 
ing sketches of Monticello and its owner from the pens of 
two distinguished Frenchmen,* and, fortunately, the Travels 
of Lieutenant Hall, a British officer, enable me to give a sim- 
ilar sketch from the pen of an Englishman. Their national 
prejudices and enthusiasm might be thought to have made 
the French noblemen color their pictures too highly when 
describing Jefferson ; but certainly, if ever he had a critical 
visitor, a British officer might be considered to have been 
one, and in this view the following pleasantly-written ac- 
count of Mr. Hall's visit to Monticello in 1816 will' be found 
particularly interesting : 

Z/ieut. HalVs Visit to Jeff&rson.\ 

Having an introduction to Mr. Jefferson (Mr. Hall writes), 
I ascended his little mountain on a fine morning, which gave 
the situation its due effect. The whole of the sides and base 
are Covered with forest, through which roads have been cut 
circularly, so that the winding may be shortened at pleas- 
ure; the summit is an open lawn, near to the south side of 
which the house is built, with its garden just descending the 
brow ; the saloon, or central hall, is ornamented with several 
pieces of antique sculpture, Indian arms, mammoth bones, 
and other curiosities collected from various parts of the 
Union. I found Mr. Jefferson tall in person, but stooping 
and lean with old age, thus exhibiting the fortunate mode 
of bodily decay which strips the frame of its most cumber- 
some parts, leaving it still strength of muscle and activity 
of limb. His deportment was exactly such as the Marquis 
de Chastellux describes it above thirty years ago. "At first 
serious, nay even cold," but in a very short time relaxing 

* Pages 58 et seq., and 235 et seq. 

t Travels in Canadd and the United States, in 1816 and 1817, by Lieuten- 
ant Francis Hall. 


into a most agreeable amenity, with an unabated flow of 
conversation on the most interesting topics discussed in the 
most gentlemanly and philosophical manner. 

I walked with him round his grounds, to visit his pet trees 
and improvements of various kinds. During the walk he 
pointed out to my observation a conical mountain, rising 
singly at the edge of the southern horizon of the landscape ; 
its distance, he said, was forty miles, and its dimensions those 
of the greater Egyptian pyramid; so that it actually repre- 
sents the appearance of the pyramid at the same distance. 
There is a small cleft visible on the summit, through which 
the true meridian of Monticello exactly passes ; its most sin- 
gular property, however, is, that on different occasions it 
looms, or alters its appearance, becoming sometimes cylin- 
drical, sometimes square, and sometimes assuming the form 
of an inverted cone. Mr. Jefferson had not been able to con- 
nect this phenomenon with any particular season or state of 
the atmosphere, except that it most commonly occurred in 
the forenoon. He observed that it was not only wholly un- 
accounted for by the laws of vision, but that it had not as 
yet engaged the attention of philosophers so far as to acquire 
a name ; that of " looming " being, in fact, a term applied by 
sailors to appearances of a similar kind at sea. The Blue 
Mountains are also observed to loom, though not in so re- 
markable a degree 

I slept a night at Monticello, and left it in the morning, 
with such a feeling as the traveller quits the mouldering re- 
mains of a Grecian temple, or the pilgrim a fountain in the 
desert. It would, indeed, argue a great torpor, both of under- 
standing and heart, to have looked without veneration or in- 
terest on the man who -drew up the Declaration of American 
Independence, who shared in the councils by which her free- 
dom was established; whom the unbought voice of his. fel- 
low-citizens called to the exercise of a dignity from which 
his own moderation impelled him, when such an 'example 
was most salutary, to withdraw ; and who, while he dedi- 
cates the evening of his glorious days to the pursuits of sci- 
ence and literature, shuns none of the humbler duties of pri- 
vate life; but, having filled a seat higher than that of kings, 
succeeds with graceful dignity to that of the good neighbor, 
and becomes the friendly adviser, lawyer, physician, and even 


gardener of his vicinity. This iS the still small voice of phi- 
losophy, deeper and holier than the lightnings and earth- 
quakes which have preceded it. What monarch would ven- 
ture thus to exhibit himself in the nakedness of his humani- 
ty ? On what royal hrow would the laurel replace the dia- 
dem? But they who are born and educated to be kings 
are not expected to he philosophers. This is a just answer, 
though no great compliment, either to the governors or the 

Early in 181 1 Jefferson wrote the following delightful let- 
ter to Mrs. Adams the last, I believe, that he ever address- 
ed to her : 

To Mrs. Adams. 

Monticello, Jan. llth, 1817. 

I owe you, dear Madam, a thousand thanks for the letters 
communicated in your favor of December 15th, and now re- 
turned. They give me more information than I possessed 
before of the family of Mr. Tracy.* But what is infinitely 
interesting, is the scene of the exchange of Louis XVIII. for 
Bonaparte. What lessons of wisdom Mr. Adams must have 
read in that short space of time I More than fall to the lot 
of others in the course of a long life. Man, and the man of 
Paris, under those circumstances, must have been a subject 
of profound speculation ! It would be a singular addition to 
that spectacle to see the same beast in the cage of St. Hele- 
na, like a lion in the tower. That is probably the closing 
verse of the chapter of his crimes. But not so with Louis. 
He has other vicissitudes to go through. 

I communicated the letters, according to your permission, 
to my grand-daughter, Ellen Randolph, who read them with 
pleasure and edification. She is justly sensible of, and flat- 
tered by, your kind notice of her ; and additionally so by 
the favorable recollections of our Northern visiting friends. 
If Monticello has any thing which has merited their remem- 
brance, it gives it a value the more in our estimation ; and 
could I, in the spirit of your wish, count backward a score 
of years, it would not be long before Ellen and myself would 
1 pay our homage personally to Quincy. But those twenty 

* One of his French friends, the Comte de Tracy. 


years ! Alas 1 where are they ? With those beyond the 
flood. Our "next meeting must then be in the country to 
which they have flown a country for us not now very dis- 
tant. For this journey we shall need neither gold nor silver 
in our purse, nor scrip, nor coats, nor staves. Nor is the pro- 
vision for it more easy than the preparation has been kind* 
Nothing proves more than this, that the Being who presides 
over the world is essentially benevolent stealing from us,, 
one by one, the faculties of enjoyment, searing our sensibili- 
ties, leading us, like the horse in his mill, round aud round 
the same beaten circle 

To see what "we ]iave seen, 
To taste the tasted, and at each return 
Less tasteful; o'er our palates to decant 
Another vintage 

until, satiated and fatigued with this leaden iteration, we 
ask our own cong'e. 

I heard once a very old friend, who had troubled himself 
with neither poets nor philosbphers, say the same thing in 
plain prose, that he was tired of pulling off his shoes and 
stockings at night, and putting them on again in the morn- 
ing. The wish to stay here is thus gradually extinguished j 
but not so easily that of returning once in a while to see 
how things have gone on. Perhaps, however, one of the ele- 
ments of future felicity is to be* a constant and unimpassion- ' 
ed view of what is passing here. If so, this may well sup- 
ply the wish of occasional visits. Mercier has given us a 
vision of the year 2440 ; but prophecy is one thing, and 
history another. On the whole, however, perhaps it is wise 
and well to be contented with the good things which the 
Master of the feast places before us, and to be thankful for 
what we have, rather than thoughtful about what we have 

You and I, dear Madam, have already had more than an 
ordinary portion of life, and more, too, of health than the gen- 
eral measure. On this score I owe boundless thankfulness. 
Your health was some time ago not so good 1 as it has been, 
and I perceive in the letters communicated some complaints 
still. I hope it is restored ; and that life and health may be 
continued to you as many years as yourself shall wish, is the 
sincere prayer of your affectionate and respectful friend. 



The pleasant intercourse between Mr. Jefferson and Mrs. 
Adams terminated only with the death of the latter, which 
took place in the fall of the year 1818, and drew from Jeffer- 
son the following beautiful and touching letter to His an- 
cient friend and colleague : 

To John Adams. 

Mdnticello, November 13th, 1818. 

The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event' 
of which your letter of October the 20th had given me omi- 
nous foreboding. Tried myself in the school of affliction, by 
the loss of every form of connection which can rive the hu- 
man heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what 
you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. 
The same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasura- 
ble time and silence are the only medicine. I will not, there- 
fore, by useless condolences, open afresh the sluices of your 
grief, nor, although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, 
will I say a word more where words are vain, but that it is 
of some comfort to us both that the term is not very dis- 
tant at which we are to deposit in the same cerement our 
Sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an 
ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, 
and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God 
bless you and support you under your heavy affliction. 


In the following letter we have a most interesting and 
minute account of Mr. Jefferson's habits and mode of life : 

To Doctor Vine TTtley. 

Monticello, March 21st, 1819. 

Sir Your letter of February ttfe 18th came to hand on 
the 1st instant; and the request of the history of my phys- 
ical habits would have puzzled me not a little, had it not 
been for the model with which you accompanied it of Doc- 
tor Rush's answer to a similar inquiry. I live so much like 
other people, that I might refer to ordinary life as the his- 
tory of my own. Like my friend the Doctor, I have lived 
temperately, eating little animal food, and that not as an ali- 

DAILY LIFE: ^ETAT. 76. 371 

ment so much as a condiment for the vegetables, which con- 
stitute my principal diet. I double, however, the Doctor's 
glass-and-a-half of wine 3 and even treble it with a friend ; 
but halve its effect by drinking the weak wines only. The 
ardent wines I can not drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in 
any form. Malt liquors and cider are my table drinks, and 
my breakfast, like that also of my friend, is of tea and cof- 
fee. I have been blest with organs of digestion which ac- 
cept and concoct without ever murmuring whatever the 
palate chooses to consign to them, and I have not yet lost 
a tooth by age. 

I was a hard student until I entered on the business of 
life, the duties of which leave no idle time to those disposed 
to fulfill them ; and now, retired, at the age of seventy-six, 
I am again a hard student. Indeed, my fondness for read- 
ing and study revolts me from the drudgery of letter-writ- 
ing ; and a stiff wrist, the consequence of an early disloca- 
tion, makes, writing both slow and painful. I am not so 
regular in my sleep as the Doctor says he was, devoting to 
it from five to eight hours, according as my company or the 
book I am reading interests me ; and I never go to bed with- 
out an hour, or half-hour's reading of something moral where- 
on to ruminate in the intervals of sleep. But whether I re- 
tire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun. I use specta- 
cles at night, but not necessarily in the day, unless in read- 
ing small print. My hearing is distinct in particular con- 
versation, but confused when several voices cross each other, 
which unfits me for the society of the table. 

I have been more fortunate than my friend in the article 
of health. So free from catarrhs, that I have not had one 
(in the breast, I mean) on an average of eight or ten years 
through life. I ascribe this exemption partly to the habit 
of bathing my feet in cold water every morning for sixty 
years past. A fever of more than twenty-four hours I have' 
not had above two or three times in my life. A periodical 
headache has afflicted me occasionally, once, perhaps, in six 
or eight years, for two or three weeks at a time, which seems 
now to have left me ; and, except on a late occasion of in- 
disposition, I enjoy good health ; too feeble, indeed, to walk 
much, but riding without fatigue six or eight miles a day, 
and sometimes thirty or forty. 


I may end these egotisms, therefore, as I began, by saying 
that my life has been so much like that of other people, that 
I might say with Horace, to every one, " Nomine mutato, 
ncurratur fabula de te" I must not end, however, without 
due thanks for the kind sentiments of regard you are so 
good as to express towards myself; and with my acknowl- 
edgments for these, be pleased to accept the assurances of 
my respect and esteem. 


In the following month of the same year we find him re- 
ceiving a letter from Mrs- Cos way, who had long been silent. 
I give the following quotation from this letter, Jefferson's 
reply, and other letters from her, which close their pleasant 

From Mrs. Cosway. [Motract.] 

London, April 7th, 1819. 

My different journeys to the Continent were either caused 
by bad health or other particular private melancholy mo- 
tives ; but on any sudden information of Mr. C.'s bad health, 
I hastened home to see him. In my stay on the Continent, 
I was called to form establishments of education : one at Ly- 
ons, which met with the most flattering success 5 and lastly, 
one in Italy, equally answering every hoped-for consolation. 
Oh ! how often have I thought of America, and wished to 
have exerted myself there ! Who would ever have imagined 
th$t I should have taken up this line ! It has afforded me 
satisfactions unfelt before, after having been deprived' of my 
own child. What comfortable feelings in seeing children 
grow up accomplished, modest, and virtuous women ! They 
are hardly gone home from the establishment at fifteen, but 
are married and become patterns to their sex. 

But am I not breaking the rules of modesty myself, and 
boasting too much? la what better manner can I relate 
this ? However, though seemingly settled at Lodi, I was 
ever ready to return home when called. At last, at the first 
opening of communication on the cessation of the cruel hos- 
tilities which kept us all asunder, alarmed at the indifferent 
accounts of Mr. C.'s health, I hastened home. He is much 
broken, and has had two paralytic strokes, the last of which 


has deprived him of the use of his right hand and arm. 
Forgotten by the arts, suspended from the direction of edu- 
cation (though it is going on vastly well in my absence), I 
am now discharging the occupations of a nurse, happy in 
the self-gratification of doing my duty with no other conso- 
lation. In your " Dialogue," your Head would tell me, " That 
is enough ;" your Heart, perhaps, will understand I might 
wish for more. God's will be done ! r 

What a loss to me not having the loved Mrs. Church! 
and how grieved I was when told she was no more among 
the living ! I used to see Madame de Corny in Paris. She 
still lives, but in bad health. She is the only one left of the 
common friends we knew. Strange changes, over and over 
again, all over Europe you only are proceeding on well. 

Now, my dear Sir, forgive this long letter. May I flatter 
myself to hear from you ? Give me some accounts of your- 
self as you used to do ; instead of Challion and Paris, talk to 
me of Monticello. 

To Mrs. Cosway, 

Monticello, Dec. 27th, 1820. 

" Over the length of silence I draw a curtain," is an ex- 
pression, my dear friend, of your cherished letter of April 7, 
1819, of which, it might seem, I have need to avail myself; 
but not so really. To seventy-seven heavy years add two 
of prostrate health, during which all correspondence has 
been suspended of necessity, and you have the true cause of 
not having heard from me. My wrist, too, dislocated in Par- 
is while I had the pleasure of being there with you, is, by 
the effect of years, now so stiffened that, writing is become 
a slow and painful operation, and scarcely ever undertaken 
but under the goad of imperious business. But I have nev- 
er lost sight of your letter, and give it now the first place 
among those of my trans-Atlantic friends which have been 
lying unacknowledged during the same period of ill health. 

I rejoice, in the first place, that you are well; for your 
silence on that subject encourages me to presume it. And 
nest, that you have been so usefully and pleasiDgly occupied 
in preparing the minds of others to enjoy the blessings you 
yourself have derived from the same source a cultivated 
mind. Of Mr. Cosway I fear to say any thing, such is the 


disheartening account of the state of his health given in 
your letter; but here or wherever, I am sure he has all the 
happiness which an honest life assures. Nor will I say any 
thing of the troubles of those among whom you live. I see 
they are great, and wish them happily out of them, and es- 
pecially that you may be safe and happy, whatever be their 

I will talk about Monticello, then, and my own country, as 
is the wish expressed in your letter. My daughter Kandolph, 
whom you knew in Paris a young girl, is now the mother of 
eleven living children, the grandmother of about half a dozen 
others, enjoys health and good spirits, and sees the worth of 
her husband attested by his being at present Governor of 
the State in which we live. Among these I live like a pa- 
triarch of old. Our friend Trumbull is well, and is profita- 
bly and honorably employed by his country in commemo- 
rating with his pencil some of its Revolutionary honors. Of 
Mrs. Conger I hear nothing, nor, for a long time, of Madame 
de Corny. Such is the present state of our former coterie 
dead, diseased, and dispersed. But "tout ce qui est differe 
n'est pas perdu," says the French proverb, and the religion 
you so sincerely profess tells us we shall meet again 

Mine is the next turn, and I shall meet it with good-will ; 
for after one's friends are all gone before them, and our fac- 
ulties leaving us, too, one by one, why wish to linger in mere 
vegetation, as a solitary trunk in a desolate field, from which 
all its former companions have disappeared. You have 
many* good years remaining yet to be happy yourself and 
to make those around you happy. May these, my dear 
friend, be as many as yourself may wish, and all of them 
filled with health and happiness, will be 'among the last and 
warmest wishes of an unchangeable friend. 


The original of the following letter, now lying before me, 
is edged with black: 

From Mrs. Co&way. 

London, July 15th, 1821. 

My dear and most esteemed Friend The appearance of 
this letter will inform you I have been left a widow. Poor 
Mr. Cosway was suddenly taken Jby an apoplectic fit, and, be- 


ing the third, proved his last. At the time we had hopes he 
would enjoy a few years, for he had never been so well and 
so happy. Change of air was rendered necessary for his 
health. I took a very charming house, and fitted it tip 
handsomely and comfortably with those pictures and things 
which he liked most. 

All my thoughts and actions were forhim. He had neg- 
lected his affairs very 1 much, and when I was obliged to take 
them into my hands I was astonished. I took every means 
of ameliorating them, and had succeeded, at least for his 
comfort, and my consolation was his constantly repeating 
how well and how happy he was. We had an auction of all 
his effects, and his house in' Stratford Place, which lasted two 
months. My fatigue was excessive. The sale did not pro- 
duce as much as we expected, but enough to make him com- 
fortable, and prevent his being embarrassed, as he might 
have been had I not lived accordingly., Every body thought 
he was very rich, and I was astonished when put into the 
real knowledge of his situation. He made his will two years 
ago, and left me sole executrix and mistress of every thing. 

After having settled every thing here, and provided for 
three cousins of Mr. C.'s, I shall retire from this bustling and 
insignificant world to my favorite college at Lodi, as I al- 
ways intended, where I can employ myself so happily in do- 
ing good. 

I wish Monticello was not so far I would pay you a visit, 
were it ever so much out of my way ; but it is impossible. 
I long to hear from you. The remembrance of a person I so 
highly esteem and venerate affords me the happiest consola- 
tions, and your patriarchal situation delights me such as I 
expected from you. Notwithstanding your indifference for 
a world of which you make one of the most distinguished 
ornaments and members, I wish you may still enjoy many 
years, and feel the happiness of a nation which produces such 

I will write again before I leave this country (at this mo- 
ment in so boisterous an occupation, as you must be inform- 
ed of), and I will send you my direction. I shall go through 
Paris and talk of you with Madame de Corny. Believe me 

ever your most affectionate and obliged 



From Mrs. Cosway. | 

Milan, June 18th, 1823. 

I congratulate you on the undertaking you announce me 
of the fine building* which occupies your taste and knowl- 
edge, and gratifies your heart. The work is worthy of you 
you are worthy of such enjoyment. Nothing, I think, is 
more useful to mankind than a good education. I may say 
I have been very fortunate to give a spring to it in this 
country, and see those children I have had the care of turn 
out good wives, excellent mothers, et bonnes f&nmes de m& 
nage, which was not understood ir\ these countries, and which 
is the principal object of society, and the only useful one. 

I wish I could come and learn from you ; were it the far- 
thest part of Europe nothing would prevent me, but that im- 
mense sea makes a great distance. I hope, however, to hear 
from you as often as you can favor me. I am glad you ap- 
prove my choice of Lodi. It is a pretty place, and free from 
the bustle of the world, which is become troublesome. What 
a change since you were here! I saw Madame de Corny 
when at Paris : she is the same, only a little older. 

From Mrs. Cosway. 

Florence, Sept. 24th, 1824. 

My dear Sir, and good Friend I am come to visit my na- 
tive country, and am much delighted with every thing round 
it. The arts have made great progress, and Mr. Cosway's 
drawings ^have been very much admired, which induced me 
to place in the gallery a very fine portrait of his. I have 
found here an opportunity of sending this letter by Leghorn 
which I had not at Milan. ' 

I wish much to hear from you, and how you go on with 
your fine Seminary. I have had my grand saloon painted 
with the representation of the four parts of the world, and 
the most distinguished objects of them. I am at loss for 
Americans I found very few small prints however, Wash- 
ington town is marked, and I have left a hill bare where 
I would place Monticello and the Seminary : if you favor 

* The University of Virginia. 


me with some description, that I might have them intro- 
duced, you would oblige me much. I am just setting out for 
my home. Pray write to me at Lodi, and, if this reaches 
you safely, I -will write longer by the same way. Believe me 
ever, your most obliged and affectionate friend, 




Letters to John Adams. Number of Letters written and received. To John 
Adams. Breaks his Arm. Letter to Judge Johnson. To Lafayette. 
The University of Virginia, Anxiety to have Southern Young Men edu- 
cated at the South. Letters on the Subject. Lafayette's Yisit to Ameri- 
ca. His Meeting with Jefferson. Daniel Webster's Visit to Monticello, 
and Description of Mr. Jefferson. 

IK the following letter to Mr. Adams we find Mr. Jefier- 
son not complaining of, but fully appreciating the rapidity 
with which old age and its debilities were advancing on 

To John Adams. 

Monticello, June 1st, 1822. 

It is very long, my dear Sir, since I have written to you. 
My dislocated wrist is now become so stiff that I write slow- 
ly and with pain, and therefore write as little as I can. Yet 
it is due to mutual friendship to ask once in a while how we 
do. The papers tell us that General Stark is off at the age 
of 93. Charles Thompson still lives at about the same age 
cheerful, slender as a grasshopper, and so much without 
memory that he scarcely recognizes the members of his 
household. An intimate friend of his called on him not long 
since; it was difficult to make him recollect who he was, 
and, sitting one hour, he told him the same story four times 
over. Is this life 

"With lab'ring step 

To tread our former footsteps? pace the round 
Eternal? to beat and beat 
The beaten track ? to 'see what we hare seen, 
To taste the tasted? o'er our palates to decant 
Another -vintage?" 

It is at most but the life of a cabbage ; surely not worth a 
wish. When all our faculties have left, or are leaving us, 
one by one sight, hearing, memory every avenue of pleas- 
ing sensation is closed, and athumy, debility, and malaise left 


in their places when friends of our youth are all gone, and 
a generation is risen around us whom we know not, is death 
an evil ? 

"When one "by one our ties are torn, 
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn, 
When man is left alone to mourn, 
Oh! then how sweet it is to die! 
When trembling limbs refuse their weight, 
And films slow gathering dim the sight, 
When clouds obscure the mental light, 
'Tis nature's kindest boon to die!" 

I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old age ; 
and my health has been generally so good, and is now so 
good, that I dread it stilL The rapid decline of my strength 
during the last winter has made me hope sometimes that I 
see land. During summer I enjoy its temperature; but I 
shudder at the approach of winter, and wish I could sleep 
through it with the dormouse, and only wake with him in 
spring, if ever. They say that Stark could walk about his 
room. I am told you walk well and firmly. I can only 
reach my garden, and that witji sensible fatigue. I ride, 
however, daily. But reading is my delight. I should wish 
never to put pen to paper; and the more because of the 
treacherous practice some people have of publishing one's 
letters without leave. Lord Mansfield declared it a breach 
of trust, and punishable at law. I think it should be a pen- 1 
itentiary felony; yet you will have seen that they have 
drawn me out into the arena of the newspapers.* Although 
I know it is too late for me to buckle on the armor of youth, 
yet my indignation would not permit me passively to re- 
ceive the kick of an ass. 

To turn to the news of the day, it seems that the canni- 
bals of Europe are going to eating one another again. A 
war between Russia and Turkey is like the battle of the kite 
and snake. Whichever destroys the other leaves a destroy- 
er the less for the world. This pugnacious humor of man- 
kind seems to be the law of his nature, one of the obstacles 
to too great multiplication provided in- the mechanism of the 
universe. The cocks of the hen-yard kill one another. Bears, 
bulls, rams, do the same. And the horse, in his wild state, 

* Alluding to a reply- which he made to an attack made on him by one 
signing himself a ' ; Native Virginian. " 


kills all the young males, until, worn down with age and 
war, some vigorous youth kills him, and takes to himself the 
harem of females. I hope we shall prove how much happier 
for man the Quaker policy is, and that the life of the feeder 
is better than that of the fighter; and it is some consolation 
that the desolation by these maniacs of one part of the earth 
is the means of improving it in other parts. Let the latter 
be our office, and let us milk the cow, while the Eussian 
holds her by the horns, and the Turk by the tail. God bless 
you, and give you health^ strength, and good spirits, and as 
much of life as you think worth having. 

In another letter to Mr. Adams he gives really a pitiable 
account of the tax on his strength which letter-writing had 
become. Mr. Adams had suggested that he should publish 
the letter just quoted, by way of letting the public know 
how much he suffered from the number of letters he had to 
answer. Jefferson, in reply, says : 

To John Adams. 

I do not know how far you may suffer, as I do, under the 
persecution of letters, of which every mail * brings a fresh 
load. They are letters of inquiry, for the most part, always 
of good-will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but 
much oftener from persons -whose names are unknown to 
me, but written kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore, 
civility requires answers. Perhaps the better-known failure 
of your hand in its function of writing may shield you in 
greater degree from this distress, and so far qualify the mis- 
fortune of its disability. I happened to turn to my letter- 
list some time ago, and a curiosity was excited to count those 
received in a single year. It was the year before the last. I 
found the number to be one thousand two hundred and six- 
ty-seven, many of them requiring answers of elaborate re- 
search, and all to be answered with due attention and con- 
sideration. Take an average of this number for a week or 
a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by other 
considerations in mine of the 1st. Is this life? At best it 
is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle 
but in death. To such a life that of a cabbage is paradise. 


It occurs, then, that my condition of existence, truly stated 
in that letter, if "better known, might check the kind indis- 
cretions which are so heavily depressing the departing hours 
of life. Such a relief would, to me, be an ineffable blessing. 

The reader can form some idea of the extent of this cor- 
respondence, which, in his old age, became such a grievous 
burden to the veteran statesman, from the fact that the let- 
ters received by him that were preserved amounted to twen- 
ty-six thousand at the time of his death ; while the copies left 
by him, of those which he himself had written, numbered six- 
teen thousand. These were but a small portion of what he 
wrote, as he wrote numbers of which he retained no copies. 

Mr. Jefferson's estimate of Napoleon's character is found 
in the following interesting extract from a letter written to 
Mr. Adams, February 24, 1823 : 

To John Adams. Character Of Napoleon. 

I have just finished reading O'Meara's Bonaparte. It 
places him in a higher scale of understanding than I had al- 
lotted him. I had thought him the greatest of all military 
captains, but an indifferent statesman, and misled by unwor- 
thy passions. The flashes, however, which escaped from him 
in these conversations with O'Meara prove a mind of great 
expansion, although not of distinct development and reason- 
ing. He seizes results with rapidity and penetration, but 
never explains logically the process of reasoning by which 
he arrives at them. 

This book, too, makes us forget his atrocities for a mo- 
ment, in commiseration of his sufferings. I will not say 
that the authorities of the world, charged with the care of 
their country and people, had not a right to confine him for 
life, as a lion or tiger, on the principle of self-preservation. 
There was no safety to nations while he was permitted to 
roam at large. But the putting him to death in cold blood, 
by lingering tortures of mind, by vexations, insults, and dep- 
rivations, was a degree of inhumanity to which the poison- 
ings and assassinations of the school of Borgia and den of 
Marat never attained. The book proves, also, that nature 
had denied him the moral sense, the first excellence of well- 


organized man. If he could seriously and repeatedly affirm 
that he had raised himself to power without ever having 
committed a crime, it proved that he wanted totally the 
sense of right and wrong. If he could consider the millions < 
of human lives which he had destroyed, or caused to be de- 
stroyed, the desolations of countries by plunderings, burn- 
ings, and famine, the destitutions of lawful rulers of the 
world without the consent of their constituents, to place his 
brothers and sisters on their thrones, the cutting up of es- 
tablished societies of men and jumbling them discordantly ' 
together again at his caprice, the demolition of the fairest 
hopes of mankind for the recovery of their rights and amel- 
ioration of their condition, and all the numberless train of 
his other enormities the man, I say, who could consider all 
these as no crimes, must have been a moral monster, against 
whom every hand should have been lifted to slay him. 

You are so kind as to inquire after my health. The bone 
of my arm is well knitted, but my hand .and fingers are in $ 
discouraging condition, kept entirely useless by an cedema- 
tous swelling of slow amendment. God bless you, and con- 
tinue your good health of body and mind. 

The broken arm alluded to at the close of this letter was 
caused by an accident which Mr. Jefferson met with towards 
the close of the year 1822. While descending a flight of 
steps leading, from one of the terraces at Monticello, a de- 
cayed plank gave way and threw him forward at full length 
on the ground. To a man in his eightieth year such a fall 
might have been fatal, and Jefferson was fortunate in escap- 
ing with a broken arm, though it gave him much pain at the 
time, and was a serious inconvenience to him during the few 
remaining years of his life. Though debarred from his usual 
daily exercise on horseback for a short time after the acci- 
dent occurred, he resumed his rides while his arm was yet 
in a sling. His favorite riding-horse, Eagle, was brought up 
to the terrace, whence he mounted while in this disabled 
state. Eagle, though a spirited Virginia full-blood, seemed 
instinctively to know that his venerable master was an in- 
valid ; for, usually restless and spirited, he on these occasions 


stood as quietly as a lamb, and, leaning up towards the ter- 
race, seemed to wish to aid the crippled octogenarian as he 
mounted into the saddle. 

I make the following extracts from a letter full of interest, 
written to Judge Johnson, of South Carolina, early in the 
summer of 1823. He writes : 

To Judge Johnson. 

What a treasure will Ibe found in General Washington's 
cabinet, when it shall pass into the hands of as candid a 
friend to truth as he was himself! 

With respect to his [Washington's] Farewell Address, to 
the authorship of which, it seems, there are conflicting claims, 
I can state to you some facts. He had determined to decline 
a re-election 'at the end of his first term, and so far deter- 
mined, that he had requested Mr. Madison to prepare for 
him something valedictory, to-be addressed to his constitu- 
ents on his retirement. This was done : but he was finally 
persuaded to acquiesce in a second election, to which no one 
more strenuously pressed him than myself, from a conviction 
of the importance of strengthening, by longer habit, the re- 
spect necessary for that office, which the weight of his char- 
acter only could effect. When, at the end of this second 
term, his Valedictory came out, Mr. Madison recognized in 
it several passages of. his draughty several others, we were 
both satisfied, were from the pen of Hamilton ; and others 
from that of the President himself. These he probably put 
into the hands of Hamilton to form into a whole, and hence 
it may all appear in Hamilton's handwriting, as if it were all 
of his composition 

The close of my second sheet warns me that it is time now 
to relieve you from this letter of unmerciful length. Indeed, 
I wonder how I have accomplished it, with two crippled 
wrists, the one scarcely able to move my pen, the other to 
hold my paper. But I am hurried sometimes beyond the 
sense of pain, when unbosoming myself to friends who har- 
monize with me in principle. You and J may differ occa- 
sionally in details of minor consequence, as no two minds, 
more than two faces, are the same in every feature. But our 
general objects are the same to preserve the republican 


forms and principles of our Constitution, and cleave to the 
salutary distribution of powers which that has established. 
These are the two sheet-anchors of our Union. If driven 
from either, we shall be in danger of foundering. To my 
prayers for its safety and perpetuity, I add those for the con- 
tinuation of your health, happiness, and usefulness to your 

Towards the close of the year 1823 he wrote a long letter 
to Lafayette, the following extracts from which show how * 
well he felt the infirmities of old age advancing upon him : 

To the Marquis de Lafayette. [Extracts.] 

Monticello, November 4th, 1823. 

My dear Friend Two dislocated wrists and crippled fin- 
gers have rendered writing so slow and laborious, as to 
oblige me to withdraw from nearly all correspondence not 
however, from yours, while I can make a stroke with a pen. 
We have gone through too many trying scenes together to 
forget the sympathies and affections they nourished 

After much sickness, and the accident of a broken and dis- 
abled arm, I am again in tolerable health, but extremely de- 
bilitated, so as to be scarcely able to walk into my garden. 
The hebetude of age, too, and extinguishment of interest in 
the things around me, are weaning 1 me from them, and dis- 
pose me with cheerfulness to resign them to the existing 
generation, satisfied that the daily advance of science will 
enable them to administer the commonwealth with increased 
wisdom. 4 You have still many valuable years to give to 
your country, and with my prayers that they may be years 
of health and happiness, and especially that they may see the 
establishment of the principles of government which you 
have cherished through life, accept the assurance of my con- 
stant friendship and respect. 

Early in the following year, in a reply to a request of 
Isaac Engelbrecht that he would send him something from 
his own hand, he writes : " Knowing nothing more moral, 
more sublime, more worthy of your preservation than Da- 
vid's description of the good man, in his 15th Psalm, I will 


here transcribe it from Brady and Tate's version :" he then 
gives the Psalm in full. 

In alluding to this year of his life, his biographer says, 
"Mr. Jefferson's absorbing topic throughout 1824 was the 
"University." He had first interested himself in this institu- 
tion in the year 181*7. The plan originally was only to es- 
tablish a college, to be called the " Central College of Vir- 
ginia;" but in his hands it was enlarged, and consummated 
in the erection of the University of Virginia, whose classic 
dome and ^ columns are now lit up by the morning rays of 
the same sun which shines on the ruin and desolation of his 
own once happy home.* The architectural plans and form 
of government and instruction for this institution afforded 
congenial occupation for his declining years, and made it 
emphatically the child of his old age. While the buildings 
were being erected, his visits to them were daily ; and from 
the northeast corner of the terrace at Monticello he frequent- 
ly watched the workmen engaged on them, through a tele- 
scope which is still preserved in the library of the Univer- 

His toil and. labors for this institution, and the obstacles 
which he had to overcome in procuring the necessary funds 
from the Virginia Legislature, served to distract his thoughts, 
in a measure, from those pecuniary embarrassments which, 
though resulting from his protracted services to his country, 
so imbittered the 'closing years of his honored life. None 
appreciated more highly than himself .the importance of es- 
tablishing Southern institutions for the instruction of South- 
ern young men. We find allusions to this subject scattered 
through the whole of his correspondence during this period 
of his life. 

How entirely he was absorbed in this darling project of 
his old age, may be seen from the following extract from a 
letter written by him to Mr. Adams, October. 12, 1823 : 

* The accompanying illustration presents the University of Virginia, as it 
appeared in 1856. 


To John Adams. 

I do not write with the ease which your letter of Septem- 
ber 18th supposes. Crippled wrists and fingers make writ- 
ing slow and laborious. But while writing to you, I ]ose the 
sense of these things in the recollection of ancient times, 
when youth and health made happiness out of every thing. 
I forget for a while the hoary winter of age, when we can 
think of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, and how 
to get rid of our heavy hours until the friendly hand of death 
shall rid us of all at once. Against this tedium vitc&, how- 
ever, I am fortunately mounted on a hobby, which, indeed, I 
should have better managed some thirty or forty years ago ; 
but whose easy amble is still sufficient to give exercise and 
amusement to an octogenary rider. This is the establish- 
ment of a University, on a scale more comprehensive, and 
in a country more healthy and central, than our old William 
and Mary, which these obstacles have long kept in a state 
of languor and inefficiency. 

The following extract from a letter to a friend, inviting 
him to Monticello, shows what little interest he took in pol- 

You must be contented with the plain and sober family 
and neighborly society, with the assurance that you shall 
hear no wrangling about the next President, although the 
excitement on that subject will then be at its acme. Nu- 
merous have been the attempts to entangle me in that im- 
broglio. But at the age of eighty, I seek quiet, and abjure 
contention. I read but a single newspaper, Ritchie's Mi. 
quir&r, the best that is published or ever has been published 
in America. 

In one of his letters to J. C. Cabell, written about the ap- 
pointment of Professors for the University, we find the fol- 
lowing passage, which sounds strangely now in an age when 
nepotism is so rife : 

In the course of the trusts I have exercised through life 
with powers of appointment, I can say with truth, and with 
unspeakable comfort, that I never did appoint a relation to 


office, and that merely because I never saw the case in which 
some one did not offer, or occur, better qualified ; and I have 
the most unlimited confidence that in the appointment of 
Professors to our nursling institution every individual of 
my associates will look with a single eye to the sublimation 
of its character, and adopt, as our sacred motto, "Detur dig- 
niori!" In this way it will honor us, and bless our country. 

In August, 1824, the people of the United States were, as 
Jefferson wrote to a friend, thrown into a "delirium" of joy 
by the arrival in New York of Lafayette. He had left their 
shores forty years before, loaded with all the honors that an 
admiring and victorious people could heap upon a generous 
and gallant young defender. Filled with all the enthusiasm 
inspired by youth, genius, and patriotism, he had returned to 
his b6l6ved France with a future full of promise and hope; 
and now, after having passed through the storms of two 
Revolutions, after having seen his fairest hopes, both for 
himself and his country, perish, he came back to -America, an 
impoverished and decrepit old man. -His misfortunes, in the 
eyes of the Americans, gave him greater claims on their love 
and sympathy, and his visit was really triumphal. Jeffer- 
son, in describing his tour through the country, wrote : " He 
is making a triumphant progress through the States, from 
town to town, with acclamations of welcome, such as no 
crowned head ever received." 

In writing to Lafayette 'to hasten his visit to Monticello, 
where he was impatiently expected, Jefferson says : 

To Lafayette. 

What a history have we to run over, from the evening that 
yourself, Mousnier, Bernan, and other patriots settled, in my 
house in Paris, the outlines of the constitution you wished. 
And to trace it through all the disastrous chapters of Robes- 
pierre, Barras, Bonaparte, and the Bourbons ! These things, 
however, are for our meeting. You mention the return of 
Miss Wright to America, accompanied by her sister ; but do 
not say what her stay is to be, nor what her course. Should 
it lead her to a visit of our University, which in its archi- 


tecture only is as yet an object, herself and her companion 
will nowhere find a welcome more hearty than with Mrs. 
Randolph, and all the inhabitants of Monticello. This Athe- 
naeum of our country, in embryo, is as yet but promise ; and 
not in a state to recall the recollections of Athens. OBut 
every thing has its beginning, its growth, and end ; and who 
knows with what future delicious morsels of philosophy, and 
by what future Miss Wright raked from its ruins, the world 

may, some day, be gratified and instructed ? But all 

these things d revoir ; in the mean time we are impatient 
that your ceremonies at York should be over, and give you 
to the embraces of friendship. 

To Monticello, where "the embraces of friendship" await- 
ed him, Lafayette accordingly went, and the following de- 
scription of the touching and beautiful scene witnessed by 
those who saw the meeting between these two old friends 
and veteran patriots has been furnished me by his grandson, 
Mr. Jefferson Randolph, who was present on that memorable 
occasion : 

Lafayette, and Jefferson in 1824. 

The lawn on the eastern side of the house at Monticello 
contains not quite an acre. On this spot was the meeting of 
Jefferson and Lafayette, on the latter's visit to the United 
States. The barouche cpntaining Lafayette stopped at the 
edge of this lawn. His escort one hundred and twenty 
mounted men formed on one side in a semicircle extending 
from the carriage to the house. A crowd of about two hun- 
dred men, who were drawn together by curiosity to witness 
the meeting of these two venerable men, formed themselves 
in a semicircle on the opposite side. As Lafayette descend- 
ed from the carriage, Jefferson descended the steps of the 
portico. The scene which followed was touching. Jeffer- 
son was feeble and tottering with age Lafayette perma- 
nently lamed and broken in health by his long confinement 
in the dungeon of Olmutz. As they approached each other, 
their uncertain gait quickened itself into a shuffling run, 
and exclaiming, "Ah, Jefferson !" "Ah, Lafayette I" they burst 
into tears as they fell into each other's arms. Among the 

JEFFERSOtf W 1824, 391 

four hundred men witnessing the scene there was not a dry 
eye no sound save an occasional suppressed sob. The two 
old men entered the house as the crowd dispersed in pro- 
found silence. 

At a dinner given to Lafayette in Gharlottesville, besides 
the " Nation's Guest," there were present Jefferson, Madison, 
and Monroe. To the toast : "Thomas Jefferson and the 
declaration of Independence alike identified with the Cause 
of Liberty? Jefferson responded in a few written remarks, 
which were read by Mr. Southall. We find in the follow- 
ing extract from them a graceful and heartfelt tribute to his 
well-loved friend: 

I joy, my friends, in your joy, inspired by the visit of this 
our ancient and distinguished leader and benefactor. His 
deeds in the war of independence you have heard and read. 
They are known to you, and embalmed in your memories 
and in the pages of faithful history. His deeds in the peace 
which followed that war, are perhaps -not known to you; 
but I can attest them. When I was stationed in his coun- 
try, for the purpose of cementing its' friendship with ours 
and of advancing our mutual interests, this friend of both 
was my most powerful auxiliary and advocate. He made 
our cause his own, as in truth it was that of his native coun- 
try also. His influence and connections there were great. 
All doors of all departments were open to him at all times ; 
to me only formally and at appointed times. In truth I only 
held the nail, he drove it. Honor him, then, as your benefac- 
tor in peace as well as in war. 

Towards the close of the year 1 824 Daniel Webster visit- 
ed Monticello, and spent a day or two there. He has left us 
an account of this visit, containing a minute description of 
Jefferson's personal appearance, style of dress, and habits. 
After giving extracts from this account, Mr. Randall, in his 
Life of Jefferson, says: "These descriptions appearing to us 
to lack some of those gradations and qualifications in expres- 
sion which are essential to convey accurate impressions, we 
sought an opinion on them from one as familiar with Mr. 


Jefferson, with his views and modes of expression, as any 
person ever was, and received the following reply : 

-, 1857. 

My dear Mr. Randall First, on the subject of 

Mr. Jefferson's personal appearance. Mr, Webster's descrip- 
tion of it did not please me, because, though I will not stop 
to quarrel with any of the details, the general impression it 
was calculated to produce seemed to me an unfavorable one ; 
that is, a person who had never seen my grandfather, would, 
from Mr. Webster's description, have thought him rather an 
ill-looking man, which he certainly never was 

It would be, however, very difficult for me to give an ac- 
curate description of the appearance of one whom I so ten- 
derly loved and deeply venerated. His person and counte- 
nance were to me associated with so many of my best af- 
fections, so much of my highest reverence, that I could not 
expect other persons to see them as I did. One thing I will 
sa y that never in my life did I see his countenance distorted 
by a single bad passion or unworthy feeling. I have seen 
the expression of suffering, bodily and mental, of grief, pain, 
sadness, just indignation, disappointment, disagreeable sur- 
prise, and displeasure, but never of anger, impatience, pee- 
vishness, discontent,fo say nothing of worse or more ignoble 
emotions. To the contrary, it was impossible to look on his 
face without being struck with its benevolent, intelligent, 
cheerful, and placid expression. It was at once intellectual, 
good, kind, and pleasant, while his tall, spare figure spoke of 
health, activity, and that helpfulness, that power and will, 
"never to trouble another for what he could do himself," 
which marked his character. 

His dress was simple, and adapted to his ideas of neatness 
and comfort. He paid little attention to fashion, wearing 
whatever he liked best, and sometimes blending the fashions 
of several different periods. He wore long waistcoats, when 
the mode was for very short ; white cambric stocks, fastened 
behind with a buckle, when cravats were universal. He 
adopted the pantaloon very late in life, because he found it 
more comfortable and convenient, and cut off his queue for 
the same reason. He made no change except from motives 
of the same kind, and did nothing to be in conformity with 


the fashion of the day. He considered such independence 

as the privilege of his age 

In like manner, I never heard him speak of Wirt's Life of 
Patrick Henry with the amount of severity recorded by Mr. 
Webster. My impression is that here too, Mr. Webster, 
from a very natural impulse, and without the least intention 
of misrepresentation, has put down only those parts of Mr. 
Jefferson's remarks which accorded with his own views, and 
left out all the extenuations the " circonstantes attendantes" 
as the French say. This, of course, would lead to an erro- 
neous impression. Of Mr. Wirt's book my grandfather did 
not think very highly ; but the unkind remark, so far as Mr. 
Wirt was personally concerned, unaccompanied by any thing 
to soften its severity, is, to say the least, very little like Mr. 



Of Jefferson's opinion of Henry, Mr. Randall goes on to say: 


His whole correspondence, and his Memoir written at the 
age of seventy-seven, exhibit -his unbounded admiration of 
Henry in certain particulars, and his dislike or severe ani- 
madversion in none. Henry and he came to differ very 
widely in politics, and the former literally died leading a 
gallant political sortie against the conquering Republicans. 
On one occasion, at .least, his keen native humor was directed 
personally against Jefferson. With his inimitable look and 
tgne, he with great effect declared that he did not approve 
of gentlemen's " abjuring their native victuals."* This gave 
great diversion to Jefferson. He loved to talk about Henry, 
to narrate anecdotes of their early intimacy ; to paint his 
taste for unrestrained nature in every thing ; to describe his 
bonhomie, his humor, his unquestionable integrity, mixed 
with a certain waywardness and freakishness ; to give illus- 
trations of his shrewdness, and of his overwhelming power 
as an orator. 

Mr. Randall's indefatigable industry in ferretting out <ev- 
ery account and record of Jefferson has laid before the pub- 

* The Republicans were accused of being adherents of Prance the cookery 
of Monticello was French. Randall's Note. 


lie Dr. Dunglison's interesting and valuable memoranda con- 
cerning his intercourse with Mr. Jefferson and his last illness 
and death. I make the following extracts : 

Dr. Dunglisorfs Memoranda. 

Soon afterwards [the arrival at Charlottesville] the vener- 
able ex-President presented himself, and welcomed us* with 
that dignity and kindness for which he was celebrated. He 
was then eighty-two years old, with, his intellectual powers 
unshaken by age, and the physical man so active that he 
rode to and from Monticello, and took exercise on foot with 
all the activity of one twenty or thirty years younger. He 
sympathized with us on the discomforts of our long voyage, 
and on the disagreeable journey we must have passed over 
the Virginia roads ; and depicted to us the great distress he 
had felt lest we hjad been lost at sea for he had almost 
given us up, when my letter arrived with the joyful intelli- 
gence that we were safe 

The houses [the professors' houses, or "pavilions" of the 
University] were much better furnished than we had expect- 
ed to find them, and would have been far more commodious 
had Mr. Jefferson consulted his excellent and competent 
daughter, Mrs. Randolph, in regard to the interior arrange- 
ments, instead of planning the architectural exterior first, 
and leaving the interior to shift for itself. Closets would 
have interfered with the symmetry of the rooms or passages, 
and hence there were none in most of the houses ; and of the 
only one which was furnished with a closet, it was told as 
an anecdote of Mr. Jefferson, that, not suspecting it, accord- 
ing to his general arrangements, he opened the door and 
walked into it in his way out of the pavilion 

Mr. Jefferson was considered to have but little faith in 
physic ; and has often told me that he would rather trust to 
the unaided, or, rather, uninterfered with, efforts of nature 
than to physicians in general. " It is not," he was wont to 
observe, " to physic that I object so much, as to physicians." 
Occasionally, too, he would speak jocularly, especially to the 
unprofessional, of medical practice, and on one occasion gave 

* The professors of the University, who were all foreigners, and brought 
by Mr. Jefferson from Europe, with the exception of two only. 


offense, when, most assuredly, if the same thing had been said 
to me, no offense would have been taken. In the presence 
of Dr. Everett, afterwards Private Secretary to Mr. Monroe, 
he remarked that whenever he saw three physicians togeth- 
er, he looked up to discover whether there was not a turkey- 
buzzard in the neighborhood. The annoyance of the doctor, 
I am told, was manifest. To me, when it was recounted, it 
seemed a harmless jest. But whatever may have been Mr. 
Jefferson's notions of physic and physicians, it is but justice 
to say that he was one of the most attentive and respectful 
of patients. He bore suffering inflicted upon him for reme- 
dial purposes with fortitude ; and in my visits, showed me, 
by memoranda, the regularity with which he had taken the 
prescribed remedies at the appointed times 

In the summer of 1825, the monotonous life of the college 
was broken an upon by the arrival of General Lafayette, to 
take leave of his distinguished friend, Mr. Jefferson, prepara- 
tory to his return to France. A dinner was given to him in 
the rotunda by the professors and students, at which Mr. 
Madison and Mr. Monroe were present, but Mr. Jefferson's 
indisposition prevented him from attending. " The meeting 
at Monticello," says M. Levasseur, the Secretary to General 
Lafayette during his journey, in his "Lafayette in America 
in 1824 and 1825," vol. ii., p. 245, "of three men who, by 
their successive elevation to the supreme magistracy of the 
state, had given to their country twenty-four years of pros- 
perity and glory, and who still offered it the example of pri- 
vate virtues, was a sufficiently strong inducement to make 
us wish to stay there a longer time ; but indispensable du- 
ties recalled General Lafayette to Washington, and he was 
obliged to take leave of his friends. I shall not attempt to 
depict the sadness which prevailed at this cruel separation, 
which had none of the alleviation which is usually felt by 
youth; for in this instance the individuals who bade fare- 
well had all passed through a long career, and the immensi- 
ty of the ocean would still add to the difficulties of a re- 

M. Levasseur has evidently confounded this banquet with 
that given by the inhabitants of Charlottesville, the year 
preceding, during the first visit of Lafayette to Mr. Jeffer- 
son. At that period there were neither professors nor stu- 


dents, as the institution was not opened until six months af- 
terwards. "Every thing," says M. Levasseur (vol. i., p. 220), 
" had been prepared at Charlottesville, by the citizens and 
students, to give a worthy reception to Lafayette, The 
sight of the nation's guest seated at the patriotic banquet, 
between Jefferson and Madison, excited in those present an 
enthusiasm which expressed itself in enlivening sallies of 
wit and humor. Mr. Madison, who had arrived that day at' 
Charlottesville to attend this meeting, was especially re- 
markable for the originality of his expressions and the deli- 
cacy of his allusions. Before leaving the table he gave a 
toast c To Liberty with Virtue for her Gruest^ and Grati- 
tude for the Feast] which was received with rapturous ap- 

The same enthusiasm prevailed at the dinner given in the 
rotunda. One of the toasts proposed by an officer of the in- 
stitution, I believe, was an example of forcing a metaphor to 
the full extent of its capability "The Apple of our Hearts 
M/e Lafayette" 



Pecuniary Embarrassments. Letter from a Grand-daughter. Dr. Dungli- 
son's Memoranda. Sells his Library. Depressed Condition of the Money 
Market. Disastrous Consequences to Jefferson. His Grandson's Devo- 
tion and Efforts to relieve him. Mental Sufferings of Mr. Jefferson. 
Plan of Lottery to sell his Property. Hesitation of Virginia Legislature 
to grant his Bequest. Sad Letter to Madison. Correspondence with Ca- 
bell. Extract from a Letter to his Grandson, to Cabell. Beautiful Letter 
to his Grandson. Distress at the Death of his Grand-daughter. Dr. 
Dunglison's Memoranda. Meeting in Richmond. In Nelson County. 
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore come to his Relief. His Gratitude. 
Unconscious that at his Death Sales of his Property would fail to pay his 
Debts. Deficit made up by his Grandson. His Daughter left penniless. 
Generosity of Louisiana and South Carolina. 

I HAVE now to treat of that part of Jefferson's life which 
his biographer well calls " the saddest page in his personal 
history " I allude to the pecuniary embarrassments which 
clouded the evening of his honored life. These were caused 
by his long absences from home when in the service of his 
country, the crowds of visitors which his reputation drew to 
his house, and the fluctuations and depression of the money 

Jefferson inherited from his father nineteen hundred acres 
of land, and began the practice of law when he became of 
age, in 1764. His practice very soon became extensive, and 
yielded him an income of $3000, while from his estates he re- 
ceived about $2000, making a sum total of $5000, This was 
a handsome income, as property was then rated ; for the very 
best highlands in Albemarle were valued at not more than 
two dollars per acre, and all other kinds of property bore a 
proportionate value. By the beginning of the Revolution, 
in 1774, he had increased his landed possessions to five thou- 
sand acres of the best lands around him; all paid for out of 
his income. This fact alone proves beyond contradiction 


how capable he was of managing his affairs and increasing 
his fortune, until 'called from direct Supervision of them by 
the demands of his country. 

On his marriage in 1772, he received, as his wife's dower, 
property which was -valued at $40,000, but with a British 
debt on it of $13,000. He sold property to pay this debt, 
and the Virginia Legislature having passed a resolution to 
the effect that whoever would deposit in the State Treasury 
the amount of their British debt, the State would protect 
them, he deposited his in the Treasury. This resolution was 
afterwards rescinded, and the money was returned in Treas- 
ury Certificates. The depreciation of these was so great, 
that the value of those received by Jefferson was laid out in 
an overcoat ; so that in after-years, when riding by the farm 
which he had sold to procure the $13,000 deposited in the 
State Treasury, he would smile and say, " I sold that farm 
for an overcoat." He sold other property to pay this debt, 
and this time was paid in paper money at as great a depre- 
ciation. Thus his impatience of debt cost him his wife's 
property. How just and exact he was in the payment of 
this, may be seen from the following extracts taken from one 
of his letters to his British creditors : 

I am desirous of arranging with you such just and prac- 
ticable conditions as will ascertain to you the terms at 
which you will receive my part of your debt, and give me 
the satisfaction of knowing that you are contented. What 
the laws of Virginia are, or may be, will in no wise influence 
my conduct. Substantial justice is my object, as decided by 
reason, and not by authority or compulsion 

Subsequent events have been such, that the State can not, 
and ought not, to pay the same nominal sum in gold or sil- 
ver which they received in paper; nor is it certain what 
they will do : my intention being, and having always been, 
that, whatever the State decides, you shall receive my debt 
fully. I am ready, to remove all difficulty arising from this 
deposit, to take back to myself the demand against the State, 
and to consider the deposit as originally made for myself and 
not for you. 


The Revolution coming on, he was, as we have seen, in 
public life almost continuously from 1774 to 1809. He did 
not visit his largest estate for nineteen years, and at one 
time was absent from his home for seven years. In 1782, 
he was sent as Minister to France ; he returned at the close 
of the year 1 788, and in March, 178 9, entered Washington's 
cabinet as Secretary of State. He resigned in February, 1 794, 
and devoted himself for three years to his private affairs. 
We have seen with what reluctance he returned to public 
life when in 1797 he was elected Vice-president. He was 
inaugurated President in 1 801 ; and not retiring till 1 809, was 
thus, with the exception of three years, absent from home 
from 1774 to 1809. 

Of the various offices which Jefferson was called to fill, be 
received pecuniary benefit from that of Vice-president alone. 
As a member of the Virginia Assembly and of Congress, as 
well as when Governor of Virginia, his salaries barely paid 
the expenses incident to his official position. As Minister to 
France his salary did not cover his expenses ; as Secretary 
of State his expenditures slightly exceeded his salary, while 
they greatly surpassed it when he was President. Yet his 
biographer tells us that "in none of these offices was his 
style of living noticed either for parsimony or extravagance." 
The following extracts from a letter written by him to his 
commission merchant, a month or two before the expiration 
of his Presidential term, show in what a painful embarrass- 
ment he found himself at that time : 

Nothing had been more fixed than my determination to 
keep my expenses here within the limits of my salary, and I 
had great confidence that I had done so. Having, however, 
trusted to rough estimates by my head, and not being suffi- 
ciently apprised of the outstanding accounts, I find, on a 
review of my affairs here, as they will stand on the 3d of 
March, that I shall be three or four months' salary behind- 
hand. In ordinary cases this degree of arrearage would not 
be serious, but on the scale of the establishment here it 
amounts to seven or eight thousand dollars, which being 


to come out of my private funds will be felt by them sen- 

After saying that in looking out for recourse to make 
good this deficit in the first instance, it is natural for him to 
turn to the principal bank of his own State, and asking that 
his commission merchant would try and arrange the matter 
for him with as little delay as possible, he goes on to say: 

Since I have become sensible of this deficit I have been 
under an agony of mortification, and therefore must solicit 
as much urgency in the negotiation as the case will admit. 
My intervening nights will be almost sleepless, as nothing 
could be more distressing to me than to leave debts here 
unpaid, if indeed I should be permitted to depart with them 
unpaid, of which I am by no means certain. 

When Jefferson resigned as Secretary of State in 1794, he 
hoped he had turned his back forever on public life, and pro- 
posed to devote the residue of his days to the restoration of 
his shattered fortunes. . For a time he refused to listen to 
any application calling him from the peaceful enjoyments of 
his tranquil life at Monticello, but he was besieged by depu- 
tations of the most distinguished men of the day old asso- 
ciates of the Revolution, who pressed his country's claim on 
him with an earnestness and pertinacity hot to be resisted, 
and which finally recalled him to public life. 

Jefferson, then, returned in 1809 to estates wasted by the 
rude management of the times, with hands, as he himself 
said, as clean as they were empty, and with a world-wide 
reputation which attracted crowds of company to devour 
what was left of a private property wasted by a life-long 
devotion to his country's demands upon him. No one could 
have been more hospitable than he was, and no one ever 
gave a more heartfelt or more cordial welcome to friends 
than he did; but the visits of those who were led by curios- 
ity to Monticello was an annoyance which at times was al- 
most painful to one of as retiring a disposition as he was. 
These visitors came at all hours and all seasons, and when 


unable to catch a glimpse of him in any other way, they not 
unfrequently begged to be allowed to sit in the hall, where, 
waiting until the dinner-hour arrived, they saw him as he 
passed through from his private apartments to his dining- 
room. On one occasion a female visitor, who was peering 
around the house, punched her parasol through a window- 
pane to get a better view of him. 

The following letter from one of Mr. Jefferson's grand- 
daughters, which I take from Randall's Life of Jefferson, 
and the extracts which I also give from Dr. Dunglison's 
Memoranda, will give the reader a correct idea of the tax 
which such an influx of visitors must have been on an es- 
tate already groaning under debt : 

, 1856. 

My dear Mr. Randall Mr. Jefferson was not an 

improvident man. He had habits of order and economy, 
was regular in keeping his accounts, knew the value of mon- 
ey, and was in no way disposed to waste it. He was simple 
in his tastes, careful, and spent very little on himself. 'Tis 
not true that he threw away his money in fantastic projects 
and theoretical experiments. He was eminently a practical 
man. He was, during all the years that I knew him, very 
liberal, but never extravagant 

To return to his visitors : they came of all nations, at all 
times, and paid longer or shorter visits. I have known a 
New England judge bring a letter of introduction to my 
grandfather, and stay three weeks. The learned Abbe Cor- 
rea, always a welcome guest, passed some weeks of each year 
with us during the whole time of his stay in the country. 
We had persons from abroad, from all the States of the 
Union, from every part of the State men, w.omen, and chil- 
dren. In short, almost every day, for at least eight motiths 
of the year, brought its contingent of guests. People of 
wealth, fashion, men in office, professional men, military and 
civil, lawyers, doctors, Protestant clergymen, Catholic priests, 
members of Congress, foreign ministers, missionaries, Indian 
agents, tourists, travellers, artists, strangers, friends. Some 
came from affection and respect, some from curiosity, some 
to give or receive, advice or instruction, some from idleness, 
some because others set the example, and very varied, amus- 



ing, and agreeable was the society afforded by this influx 
of guests. I have listened to very remarkable conversations 
carried on round the table, the fireside, or in the summer 


There were .few eminent men of our country, except, per- 
haps, some political adversaries, who did not visit him in his 
retirement, to say nothing of distinguished foreigners. Life 
at Monticello was on an easy and informal footing. Mr. 
Jefferson always made his appearance at an early breakfast,, 
but his mornings were most commonly devoted to his own 
occupations, and it was at dinner, after dinner, and in the 
evening, that he gave himself up to the society of his family 
and his guests. Visitors were left free to employ themselves 
as they liked during the morning hours to walk, read, or 
seek companionship with the ladies of the family and each 
other. M. Correa passed his time in the fields and the 
woods; some gentlemen preferred the library; others the 
drawing-room ; others the quiet of their own chambers ; or 
they strolled down the mountain side and under the shade of 
the trees. The ladies in like manner consulted their ease and 
inclinations, and whiled away the time as best they might. 


Dr. Dunglison says in his Memoranda : 

His daughter, Mrs. Randolph, or one of the grand-daugh- 
ters, took the head of the table ; he himself sat near the other 
end, and almost always some visitors were present. The pil- 
grimage to Monticello was a favorite one with him who aspired 
to the rank of the patriot and the philanthropist; but it was 
too often undertaken from idle curiosity, and could not, un- 
der such circumstances, have afforded pleasure to, while it 
entailed unrequited expense on, its distinguished proprietor. 
More than once, indeed, the annoyance has been the subject 
of regretful animadversion. Monticello, like Montpellier, the 
seat of Mr. Madison, was some miles distant from any tav'ern, 
and hence, without sufficient consideration, the traveller not 
only Availed himself of the hospitality of the ex-Presidents, 
but inflicted upon them the expenses of his quadrupeds! 
On one occasion at Montpellier, where my wife and myself 
were paying a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Madison, no fewer than 


nine horses were entertained during the night ; and in reply 
to some observation which the circumstances engendered, 
Mr. Madison remarked, that while he was delighted with the 
society of the owners, he confessed he had not so much feel- 
ing for the horses. 

Sitting one evening in the porch of Monticello, two gigs 
drove up, each containing a gentleman and lady. It ap- 
peared to me to be evidently the desire of the party to be 
invited to stay all night. One of the gentlemen came up 
to the porch and saluted Mr. Jefferson, stating that they 
claimed the privilege of American citizens in paying their re- 
spects to the President, and inspecting Monticello. Mr. Jef- 
ferson received them with marked politeness, and told them 
they were at liberty to look at every thing around, but as 
they did not receive an invitation to spend the night, they 
left in the dusk and returned to Charlottesville. Mr. Jeffer- 
son, on that occasion, could hardly avoid an expression of im- 
patience at the repeated though complimentary intrusions to 
which he was exposed. 

In Mr. Jefferson's embarrassed circumstances in the even- 
ing of life, the immense influx of visitors could not fail to be 
attended with much inconvenience. I had the curiosity to 
ask Mrs. Randolph what was the largest number of persons 
for whom she had been called upoft unexpectedly to prepare 
accommodations for the night, and she replied^tfy / 

In a country like our own there is a curiosity to know per- 
sonally those who have been called to fill the highest office 
in the Republic, and he who has attained this eminence must 
have formed a number of acquaintances who are eager to 
visit him in his retirement, so that when his salary as the 
first officer of the state ceases, the duties belonging to it do 
not cease simultaneously ; and I confess I have no sympathy 
with the feeling of economy, political or social, which denies 
to the ex-President a retiring allowance, which may enable 
him to pass the remainder of his days in that useful and dig- 
nified hospitality which seems to be demanded, by the .citi- 
zens, of one who has presided over them 

At all times dignified, and by no means easy of approach 
to all, he was generally communicative to those on whom he 
could rely. In his own house he was occasionally free in his 
speech, even to imprudence, to those of whom he did not 


know enough to "be satisfied that an improper use might not 
be made of his candor. As an example of this, I recollect a 
person from Rhode Island visiting 'the University, and being 
introduced to Mr. Jefferson by one of my colleagues. The 
person did not impress me favorably ; and when I rode up 
to Monticello, I found that no better impression had been 
made by him on Mr. Jefferson and Mrs. Randolph. His ad- 
hesiveness was such that he had occupied the valuable time 
of Mr. Jefferson the whole morning, and staid to dinner; and 
during the conversation Mr. Jefferson was apprehensive that 
he had said something which might have been misunderstood 
and be incorrectly repeated. He therefore asked me to find 
the gentleman, if he had not left Charlottesville, and request 
him to pay another visit to Monticello. He had left, how- 
ever, when I returned, but I never discovered he had aibused 
the frankness of -Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson took the oc- 
casion of saying to me how cautious his friends ought to be 
in regard to the persons they introduced to him. It would 
have been singular if, in the numerous visitors, some had not 
been found to narrate the private conversations held with 
such men as Jefferson an*d Madison. 

The foregoing statements and extracts present a faithful 
picture of the circumstances beyond his control which tend- 
ed to hopelessly involve Mr. Jefferson in pecuniary embar- 
rassments. These were still further aggravated by the out- 
break of the war of 1812, whose disastrous consequences to 
Virginia farmers are thus graphically and sadly depicted by 
him in a letter to Mr. Short : 

These are my views of the war. They embrace a great 
deal of sufferance, trying privations, and no benefit but that 
of teaching our enemy that he is never to gain by wanton 
injuries on us. To me this state of things brings a sacrifice 
of aU tranquillity and comfort through the residue of life. 
For although the debility of age disables me from the serv- 
ices and sufferings of the field, yet, by the total annihilation 
in value, of the produce which was to give me subsistence 
and independence, I shall be, like Tantalus, up to the shoul- 
ders in water, yet dying with thirst. We can make, indeed, 
enough to eat, drink, and clothe ourselves ; but nothing for 


Our salt, iron, groceries, and taxes, which must be paid in 
money. For what can we raise for the market? Wheat? 
we can only give it to our horses, as we have been doing 
ever since harvest. Tobacco ? it is not worth the pipe it is 
smoked in. Some say whisky; but all mankind must be- 
come drunkards to consume it. But although we feel, we 
shall not flinch. We must consider now, as in the Revolu- 
tionary war, that although the evils of resistance are great, 
those of submission would be greater. We must meet, there- 
fore, the former as the casualties of tempests and earth- 
quakes, and, like them, necessarily resulting from -the consti- 
tution of the world. 

There was then nothing to be made from farming; but 
while- his income was thus cut short, his company and his 
debts 'continued to increase. In this emergency something 
had to be done; and the only thing which offered itself in- 
volved a sacrifice which none but his own family, who wit- 
nessed the struggle it cost him, could ever fully appreciate 
I allude to the sale of his library. * 

The British having burnt the Congressional Library at 
Washington in 1814, he seized that occasion to write to a 
friend in Congress Samuel H. Smith and offer his library 
at whatever price Congress should decide to be just. His 
letter making this offer is manly and business-like, and con- 
tains not ^one word of repining at the stern necessity which 
forced him to part with his literary treasures the books 
which in every change in the tide of his eventful life had 
ever remained to him as old friends with unchanged faces, 
and whose 'silent companionship had afforded him next to 
the love of his friends the sweetest and purest joys of life. 
The following extract from this letter shows how valuable 
his collection of books was : 

You know my collection, its condition and extent. I have 
been fifty years making it, and have spared no pains, oppor- 
tunity, or expense, to make it what it is. While residing in 
Paris, I devoted every afternoon I was disengaged, for a sum- 
mer or two, in examining all the principal bookstores, turn- 


ing over every book with my own hand, and putting by ev- 
ery thing which related to America, and, indeed, whatever is 
rare and valuable in every science. Besides this, I had 
standing orders during the whole time I was in Europe on 
its principal book-marts, particularly Amsterdam, Frankfort, 
Madrid, and London, for such works relating to America as 
could not be found in Paris.' So that in that department 
particularly such a collection was made as probably can 
never again be effected, because it is hardly probable that the 
same opportunities, the same time, industry, perseverance, 
and expense, with some knowledge of the bibliography of the 
subject, would again happen to be in concurrence. During 
the same period, and after my return to America,! was led 
to procure, also, whatever related to the duties of those in 
the high concerns of the nation. So that the collection, 
which I suppose is of between nine and ten thousand vol- 
umes, while it includes what is chiefly valuable in science 
and literature generally, extends more particularly to what- 
ever belongs to the American Statesman. 

It is sad to think that*such a man as Jefferson, whose for- 
ttmes had been mined by the demands which his country 
had made on him, should have been forced, so late in life, to 
sell such a library to pay debts which he was in no wise re- 
sponsible for having incurred. And yet, though it was 
known that the purchase of the library would be a pecun- 
iary relief to him, the bill authorizing it was not passed in 
Congress without decided opposition, and the amount final- 
ly voted (|23,950) as the price to be paid for the books was 
probably but little over half their original cost, though they 
were all in a perfect state of preservation. 

The money received for the books proved to be only a 
temporary relief. The country had not recovered from the 
depression of its agricultural interests when a disastrous 
financial crisis burst upon it. A vivid but melancholy pic- 
ture of this period is found in Colonel Benton's Thirty 
Tears' View: 

The years of 1819 and 1820 were a period of gloom and 
agony. KTo money, either gold or silver: no paper convert- 


ible into specie : no measure or standard of value left re- 
maining. The local banks (all but those of New England), 
afta* a brief resumption of specie payments, again sank into 
a state of suspension. The bank of the United States, cre- 
ated as a remedy for all those evils, now at the head of the 
evil, prostrate and helpless, with no power left but that of 
suing its debtors and selling their property, and .purchasing 
for itself at its own nominal price. No price for property or 
produce; no sales but those of the sheriff and the marshal; 
no purchasers at the execution-sales but the creditor, or 
some hoai'der of money; no employment for industry; no 
demand for labor; no' sale for the product of the farm; no 
sound of the hammer, but that of the auctioneer, knocking 
down property. Stop laws, property laws, replevin laws, 
stay laws, loan-office laws, the intervention of the legislator 
between the creditor and the debtor this was the business 
of legislation in three-fourths of the States of the Union 
of all south and west of New England. No medium of ex- 
change but depreciated paper ; no change, even, but little 
bits of foul paper, marked so many cents, and signed by some 
tradesman, barber, or innkeeper; exchanges deranged to the 
extent of fifty or one hundred per cent. Distress the uni- 
versal cry of the people; relief, the universal demand, thun- 
dered at the door of all legislatures, State and federal 

Happy the man who, having his house set in order, was 
able to withstand the blasts of this financial tornado. To 
Jefferson, with his estates burdened with debt, their prod- 
uce a drug in the market, and his house constantly crowd- 
ed with guests, this crisis was fatal At the time he did 
not feel its practical effects in their full force, for, as we 
have seen in a previous chapter, he had placed, in the year 
1816, the management of his affairs in the hands- of his 
grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. I have .elsewhere 
alluded to the constant and peculiar devotion of this grand- 
father and grandson to each other. When he took charge 
of his grandfather's affairs young Randolph threw himself 
into the breach; and, from that time until Mr. Jefferson's 
death, made it the aim of his life as far as possible to alle- 
viate his financial condition, and to this end devoted all the 


energy and ardor of his youth as we 1 ! as his own private for- 
tune. I have lying before me an account signed by Mr. Jef- 
ferson a few weeks before his death, which shows that this 
grandson had interposed himself between him and his cred- 
itors to the amount of $58,536. Another paper before me, 
signed by Mr, Jefferson's commission-merchant, shows that 
he, the commission-merchant, was guaranteed by Mr. Ran- 
dolph against any loss from endorsation, over-draught, or 
other responsibility which he had incurred, or might incur, 
on his grandfather's account; that these responsibilities 
were all met by him, and that nevertheless, by his direc- 
tions, Mr. Jefferson's crops were placed in the hands of his 
commission-merchant on Mr. Jefferson's account, and were 
drawn out solely to his order. When, at the winding up of 
Mr. Jefferson's estate after his death, it was found that his 
debts exceeded the value of his property by $40,000, this 
same grandson pledged himself to make .good the deficit, 
which, by his untiring and unaided efforts, he succeeded in 
doing in the course of some years, having in that time paid 
all that was due to Jefferson's creditors.* 

The letters written by Jefferson during the rest of his life 
betray much mental suffering, and present a picture most 
painful to contemplate ; showing, as it does, that however 
beneficial to the public his services to his country had been, 
on himself they were allowed to entail bankruptcy and ruin. 
The editor of the ' Jefferson and Cabell correspondence, on 
reaching the letters which cover this period of Mr. Jefferson's 
life, puts the following appropriate note : 

The few remaining letters of the series relate not solely to 
the great subject of Education, but in some measure to Mr. 

*u * 7n e ban J ru P tc y of.Mr. Jefferson has been attributed, but erroneously, to 
the failure : of one of his warm personal friends, for whom he had endorsed 
heavily. This misfortune simply added to his embarrassment, and was 
doubtless the coup-de-grce; but the same result must have ensued had 
this complication not occurred, It is gratifying to know that the friend- 
ship previously ^existing between the parties was not in the least disturbed 
and that the injury inflicted was subsequently partially repaid by the sale of 
land relinquished for the purpose. 


J.'s private affairs, which had now become hopelessly embar- 
rassed a liability from which no citizen can claim entire ex- 
emption under our peculiar institutions. The reflections to 
which this gives rise would be too painful, had not the facts 
been already given to the public through other channels. 
That under such pressure he should have been able to con- 
tinue his efforts and counsels in behalf of the public interests 
with which he had been charged,* must excite our admira- 
tion ; and still more when we observe the dignity with which 
he bore up under reverses that would have crushed the spirit 
of many a younger and stouter man. 

The following extract from a letter written early in the 
year 1826 to his friend Mr. J. C. Cabell, who was then in the 
Legislature of Virginia, explains itself: 

My grandson, Thomas J. Randolph, attends the Legislature 
on a subject of ultimate importance to my future happiness. 

My application to the Legislature is for permission 

to dispose of property for payment in a wayf which, bring- 
ing a fair price for it, may pay my debts and leave a living 
for myself in my old age, and leave something for my family. 
Their consent is necessary, it will injure no man, and few ses- 
sions' pass without similar exercises of the same power in 
their discretion. But I refer you to my grandson for partic- 
ular explanations. I think it just myself; and if it should 
appear so to you, I am sure your friendship as well as justice 
will induce you to pay to it the attention which you may 
think the case will justify. To me it is sthnost a question of 
life and death. 

The generous-hearted Cabell in reply writes : 

I assure you I was truly distressed to receive your letter 
of the 20th, and to hear the embarrassed state of your affairs. 
You may rely on my utmost exertions. Tour grandson pro- 
posed that the first conference should be held at the Eagle. 
I prevailed on him to remove the scene to Judge Carr's, and 
to invite all the Judges of the Court of Appeals. Mr. Coal- 
ter and my brother were unable to attend ; but all the court 

* Alluding to his efforts in behalf of the University. . f By lottery. 


is with you. Mr. Johnson agreed to draw the bill I am 
co-operating as far as lies in my power. I wish complete 
justice could b.e done on this occasion ; but we hav6 to deal 
with men as they are. Tour grandson, will no doubt give 
you the fullest information. I will occasionally inform you 
how matters are progressing. 

Shortly after writing to Mr. Cabell we find him drawing 
up a paper, to be shown to his friends in the Legislature, 
called " Thoughts on Lotteries," which was written to show 
that there could be nothing immoral in the lottery which he 
desired. The following quotation shows that his request 
was not without a precedent : 

In this way the great estate of the late Colonel Byrd (in 
1756) was made competent to pay his debts, which, had the 
whole been brought into market at once, would have over- 
done 'the demand, would have sold at half or quarter the 
value, and sacrificed the creditors, half or three-fourths of 
whom would have lost their debts. This method of selling 
was formerly very much resorted to, until it was thought to 
nourish too much a spirit of hazard. The Legislature were 
therefore induced, not to suppress it altogether, but to take 
it under their own special regulation. This they did for the 
first time by their act of 1769, c. 17, before which time every 
person exercised the right freely, and since which time it is 
made unlawful but when approved and authorized by a spe- 
cial act of the Legislature. 

In this same paper he sums up as follows the years spent 
in the public service : 

I came of age in 1764, and was soon put into the nomina- 
tion of justice of the county in which I live ; and at the first 
election following I became one of its representatives in the 
Legislature. I was thence sent to the old Congress. Then 
employed two years with Mr. Pendleton and Mr. "Wythe, on 
the revisal and reduction to a single code of the whole body 
of the British statutes, the acts of our Assembly, and certain 
parts of the common law. Then elected Governor. Next, 
to the Legislature and Congress again. Sent to Europe as 


Minister Plenipotentiary. Appointed Secretary of State to 
the new Government. Elected Vice-President, and Presi- 
dent. And lastly, a Visitor and Kector of the University. 
. In these different offices, with scarcely any interval be- 
tween them, I have been in the public service now sixty-one 
years ; and during the far greater part of the time in for- 
eign countries or in other States. Every one knows how in- 
evitably a Virginia estate goes to ruin when the owner is so 
far distant as to be unable to pay attention to it himself; 
and the more especially when the line of his employment is 
of a character to abstract and alienate his mind entirely 
from the knowledge necessary to good and even to saving 

Small and trifling as the favor was which Mr. Jefferson 
asked of the. Virginia Legislature, it cost him much pain and 
mortification to do it, as we find from a sad and touching let- 
ter to Madison, in which he unbosoms himself to this long- 
cherished friend. He writes : 

You will have seen in the newspapers some proceedings 
in the Legislature which have cost me much mortification. 
Still, sales at a fair price would leave me compe- 
tently provided. Had crops and prices for several years 
been such, as to maintain a steady competition of substan- 
tial bidders at market, all would have been safe. But the 
long succession of years of stunted crops, of reduced prices, 
the general prostration of the farming business, under levies 
for the support of manufactures, etc., with the calamitous 
fluctuations of value in our paper medium, have kept agri- 
culture in a state of abject depression, which has peopled 
the Western States by silently breaking up those on the 
Atlantic, and glutted the land-market while it drew off its 
bidders. In such a state of things property has lost its 
character of being a resource for debts. Highland in Bed- 
ford, which, in the days of OUT plethory, sold readily for from 
fifty to one hundred dollars the acre (and such sales were 
many then), wo aid not now sell for more than from ten to 
twenty dollars, or one-quarter or one-fifth of its former price. 
Reflecting on these things, the practice occurred to me of 
selling on fair valuation, and by way of lottery, often re- 


sorted to before the Eevolution to effect large sales, and still 
in constant usage in every State for individual as well as cor- 
poration purposes. If it is permitted in my case, my lands 
here alone, with the mills, etc., will pay every thing, and will 
leave me Monticello and a farm free. If refused, I must sell 
every thing here, perhaps considerably in Bedford, move 
thither with my family, where I have not even a log hut to 
put my head into,* and where ground for burial will depend 
. on the depredations which, under the form of sales, shall 
have been committed on my property. 

The question then with me was utrum horum. But why 
afflict you with these details? Indeed, I can not tell, unless 
pains are lessened by communication with a friend. The 
friendship which has subsisted between us, now half a cen- 
tury, and the harmony of our political principles and pur- 
suits, have been sources of constant happiness to me through 
that long period. And if I remove beyond the reach of at- 
tentions to the University, or beyond the bourne of life it- 
self, as I soon must, it is a comfort to leave that institution 
under your care, and an assurance that it will not be 
wanting. It has also been a great solace to me to believe 
that you are engaged in vindicating to posterity the course 
we have pursued for preserving to them in all their purity 
the blessings of self-government, which we had assisted, too, 
in acquiring for them. If ever the earth has beheld a sys- 
tem of administration conducted with a single and steadfast 
eye to the general interest and happiness of those commit- 
ted to it; one which, protected by truth, can never know re- 
proach, it is that to which our lives have been devoted. To 
myself you have been a pillar of support through life. Take 
care of me when dead, and be assured that I shall leave with 
you my last affections. 

On the 3d of February, 1826, Mr. Cabell wrote to Jef- 
ferson : 

Tour intended application to the Legislature has excited 
much discussion in private circles in Richmond. Your 
grandson will doubtless give you a full account of passing 
occurrences. A second conference was held at Mr. Baker's 

* The house at Poplar Forest had passed out of his possession. 


last evening, at which were four of the Judges of the Court 
of Appeals, and several members of the Legislature. Find- 
ing considerable opposition in some of your political friends 
to the lottery, and feeling mortified myself that the State 
should stop short at so limited a measure, I suggested the 
idea of a loan of $80,000, free of interest, from the State, dur- 
ing the remainder of your life. On consultation, our friends 
decided that it would be impracticable. At the conference 
of last evening it was unanimously decided to bring forward 
and support the lottery. I hear there will be considerable 
opposition, but I hope it is exaggerated. I do not think that 
delay would be injurious, as in every case I have found the 
w first impression the worst. Would to God that I had the 
power to raise the mind of the Legislature to a just concep- 
tion of its duties on the present occasion. Knowing so well 
as I do how much you have done for us, I have some idea 
of what we ought to do for you. 

The following extract from a letter written on February 
4th by Jefferson to his grandson portrays vividly and pain- 
fully the agonized state of his mind about his affairs : 

Your letter of the 31st was received yesterday, and gave 
me a fine night's rest, which I had not had before since you 
left us, as the failure to hear irom you by the preceding 
mail had filled me with fearful forebodings. I am pleased 
with the train you are proceeding in, and particularly with 
the appointment of valuers. Under all circumstances I 
think I may expect a liberal valuation ; an exaggerated one 
I should negative myself. I would not be stained with the 
suspicions of selfishness at this time of life, and this will pro- 
tect me from them. I hope the paper I gave you will justi- 
fy me in the eyes of all those who have been consulted. 

This gleam of hope which so cheered up the old man's sink- 
ing heart was soon to be extinguished. His friends found, on 
feeling the pulse of the Legislature, that his simple request to 
be allowed to sell his property by lottery would meet with vi- 
olent opposition, if not absolute defeat, in that body. On his 
good friend Cabell devolved the painful duty of communica- 
ting this intelligence to him, which he did with all the feeling 
and delicacy of his chivalrous nature. 


The shock to Jefferson was great, and we find him, not 
without some bitterness, replying : 

I had hoped the length and character of my services might 
have prevented the fear in the Legislature of the indulgence 
asked being quoted as a precedent in future cases. But I 
find no fault with their strict adherence to a rule generally 
useful, although relaxable in some cases, under their discre- 
tion, of which they are the proper judges. 

And again, in another letter to Cabell, he concludes sadly : 

Whatever may be the sentence to be pronounced in my par- 
ticular case, the efforts of my friends are so visible, the im- 
pressions so pro^pundly sunk to the bottom of my heart, that 
they can never be obliterated. They plant there a consola- 
tion which countervails whatever other indications might 
seem to import. The report of the Committee of Finance 
particularly is balm to my soul. Thanks to you all, and 
warm and affectionate acknowledgments. I count on noth- 
ing now. I am taught to know my standard, and have to 
meet with no further disappointment. 

Well might such bitterness as this last sentence contained 
have been wrung from him, for the Legislature granted 
leave for the bill to be brought in by a bare majority of 
four. The noble and generous-hearted Cabell, on communi- 
cating this intelligence to him, adds : " I blush for my coun- 
try, and am humiliated to think how we shall appear on the 
page of history." 

Perhaps nojhing more beautiful or more touching ever 
flowed from his pen than the following letter to his grand- 
son ; giving, as it does, such a picture of his affections, his 
Christian resignation, manly courage, and willingness to bear 
up under adversity, for the sake of doing good to those he 

To Thomas J. Randolph. 

Monticello, February 8th, '26. 

My dear Jefferson I duly received your affectionate letter 
of the 3d, and perceive there are greater doubts than I had 


apprehended whether the Legislature will indulge my re- 
quest to them. It is a part of my mortification to perceive 
that I had so far overvalued myself as to have counted on it 
with too much confidence. I' see, in the failure of this hope, 
a deadly blast of all my peace of mind during my remain- 
ing days. You kindly encourage me to keep up my spirits ; 
but, oppressed with disease, debility, age, and embarrassed af- 
fairs, this is difficult. For myself I should not regard a pros- 
tration of fortune, but I am overwhelmed at the prospect of 
the situation in which I may leave my family. My dear and 
beloved daughter, the cherished companion of my early life, 
and nurse of my age, and her children, rendered as dear to 
me as if my own, from having lived with me from their cra- 
dle, left in a comfortless situation, hold up to me nothing but 
future gloom ; and I should not care were life to end with 
the line I am writing, were it not that in the unhappy state 
of mind which your father's misfortunes have brought upon 
him, I may yet be of some avail to the family. Their affec- 
tionate devotion to me makes a willingness to endure life a 
duty, as long as it can be of any use to them. Yourself par- 
ticularly, dear Jefferson, I consider as the greatest of the 
Godsends which heaven has granted to me. Without you 
what could I do under the difficulties now environing me ? 
These have been produced, in some degree, by my own un- 
skillful management, and devoting my time to the service of 
my country, but much also by the unfortunate fluctuation in 
the value of our money, and the long-continued depression 
of farming business. But for these last I am confident my 
debts might be paid, leaving me Monticello and the Bedford 
estate; but where there are no bidders, property, however 
great, is no resource for the payment of debts ; all may go 
for little or nothing. Perhaps, however, even in this case I 
may have no right to complain, as these misfortunes have 
been held back for my last days, when few remain to me. 
I duly acknowledge that I have gone through a long life 
with fewer circumstances of affliction than are the lot of 
most men uninterrupted health a competence for every 
reasonable want usefulness to my fellow-citizens a good 
portion of their esteem no complaint against the world 
which has sufficiently honored me, and, above all, a family 
which has blessed me by their affections, and never by their 


conduct given me a moment's pain and should this, my last 
request, be granted, I may yet close with a cloudless sun a 
long and serene day of life. Be assured, my dear Jefferson, 
that I have a just sense of the part you have contributed to 
this, and that I bear you unmeasured affection. 


What a world of suffering and mental anguish this letter 
reveals ! Three days after it was written his eldest grand- 
child, Mrs. Anne Bankhead, died. In alluding to his distress 
on this occasion, Dr. Dunglison says, in his Memoranda : " On 
the last .day of the fatal illness of his grand-daughter, who 

had married Mr. Bankhead Mr. Jefferson was present 

in the adjoining apartment ; and when the announcement was 
made by me that but little hope remained, that she was, in- 
deed, past hope, it is impossible to imagine more poignant 
distress than was exhibited by him. He shed tears, and 
abandoned himself to every evidence of intense, grief." 

Mr. Jefferson announced the death of this grand-daughter 
to her brother, then in Richmond, in the following touch- 
ingly-written note : 

To Thomas Jefferson Randolph* 

Monticello, Feb. llth, '26. 

Bad news, my dear Jefferson, as to your sister Anne. She 
expired about half an hour ago. I have been so ill for sev- 
eral days that I could not go to see her till this morning, and 
found her speechless and insensible. She breathed her last 
about 11 o'clock. Heaven seems to be overwhelming us 
with every form of misfortune, and I expect your next will 
give me the coup de grdce. Your own family are all well. 
Affectionately adieu. 


I now hasten to drop the curtain on this painful period of 
tis life. The bill for the lottery was still before the Legisla- 
ture when the people of Richmond held a meeting and jpass- 
id resolutions to approve its being adopted. Finally the 
Legislature passed the bill, on the 20th of February, by a 
in the Senate of ayes thirteen, nays four. During the 


next few months meetings indorsing the action of the Legis- 
lature were held in different parts of the State. We quote 
the following preamble to the Resolutions that were passed 
at a meeting held in Nelson County, though no actiqn re- 
sulted from the meeting : * 

The undersigned citizens of Nelson County, concurring 
cordially in the views lately expressed by their fellow-citi- 
zens at the seat of government,* and heartily sympathizing 
in the sentiments of grateful respect and affectionate regard 
recently evinced both there and elsewhere for their country- 
man, Thomas Jefferson, can not disguise the sincere satisfac- 
tion which they derive from the prospect of a general co-op- 
eration to relieve this ancient and distinguished patriot. 
The important services for which we are Indebted to Mr. 
Jefferson, from the days of his youth,, when he drew upon 
himself the resentment of Dunmore, to the present time, 
when, at the close of a long life, he is laboring to enlighten 
the nation which he has contributed to make free, place him 
in the highest rank of national benefactors, and eminently 
entitle him to the character of the people's friend. Whether 
considered as the servant of the State or of the United 
States ; whether regarded as an advocate or a statesman ; 
whether as a patriot, a legislator,, a philosopher, or a friend 
of liberty and republican government, he is the unquestioned 
ornament of his country, and unites in himself every title to 
our respect, our veneration, and gratitude. His services are 
written in the hearts of a grateful people; they are identified 
with the fundamental institutions of his country ; they enti- 
tle him to "the, fairest page of faithful history;" and will 
be remembered as long as reason and science are respected 
on earth. Profoundly impressed with these sentiments, the 
undersigned citizens of Nelson County consider it compati- 
ble with neither the national character nor with the grati- 
tude of the Republic that this aged patriot should be de- 
prived of his estate or abridged in his comforts at the close 
of a long life so ably spent in the service of his country.f 

* Alluding to the meeting in Richmond. 

t This handsome tribute to Jefferson, concluding with such a delicate ap- 
peal to the gratitude of his countrymen for his relief, was penned by his friend, 
J. C. Cabell. 



Fair words these, but barren as the deserfr air. From his 
own State Mr. Jefferson received no aid whatever; but other 
States came to his relief in a manner which was both gratify- 
ing and efficient. Without effort, Philip Hone, the Mayor of 
New Yol-k, raised $8500, which he transmitted to Mr. Jeffer- 
son on behalf of the citizens of New York ; from Philadel- 
phia he received $5000, and from Baltimore $3000. These 
sums were promptly sent as soon as his embarrassed circum- 
stances became known. He was much touched by this proof 
of the affection and esteem of his countrymen, and feelingly 
exclaimed : " No cent of this is wrung from the tax-payer 
it is the pure and unsolicited offering of love." 

Happily, he did unconscious that the sales of his property 
would fail to pay his debts, that his beautiful home would 
pass into the hands of strangers, and that his " dear and be- 
loved daughter " would go forth into the world penniless, as 
its doors were closed upon her forever.* 

The following quotation from a French writer one by no 
means friendly to Jefferson forms a fitting conclusion for 
this sad chapter of his life. After alluding to the grand 
outburst of popular feeling displayed in the funeral orations 
throughout the country on the deaths of Adams and Jeffer- 
son, he says : 

But the nobler emotions of democracy are of short dura- 
tion : it soon forgets its most faithful servants. Six months 
had not elapsed when Jefferson's furniture was sold at .auc- 
tion to pay his debts, when Monticello and Poplar Forest 
were advertised for sale at the street corners, and when the 
daughter of him whom America had called "the father 'of 
democracy " had no longer a place to rest her head.f 

* On learning the destitute condition in which Mrs. I^aiidolph was left, the 
Legislature of South Carolina at once presented her with' $10,000 ; and Loui- 
siana, following her example, generously gave the same sum acts which will 
ever he gratefully remembered by the descendants of Martha Jefferson. 

t Thomas Jefferson, Etude Historique sur la Democratic Ame'ricaine : par 
Cornells De Witt, p. 380. 



Letter to Namesake.- To John Adams. Declining Health. Dr. Dungli- 
son's Memoranda. Tenderness to his Family. Accounts of his Death by 
Dr. Dunglison and Colonel Eandolph. Farewell to his Daughter. Direc- 
tions for a Tombstone. It is erected by his Grandson. Shameful Desecra- 
tion of Tombstones at Monticello. 

A FEIEND and admirer of Jefferson's, who had named a son 
after him, requested that he would write a letter of advice 
for his young namesake. Jefferson accordingly wrote the 
following beautiful note to be kept for him until the young- 
child came to years of understanding : 

To Thomas Jefferson Smith. 

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The 
writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its coun- 
sels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested 
that I would address to you something which might possi- 
bly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have 
to run ; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that 
course. Few words will be necessary, with good disposi- 
tions on your part. Adore God. Reyerence and cherish 
your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your 
country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur 
not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which 
you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffa- 
ble bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the 
things of this world, every action of your life will be under 
my regard. Farewell. 

Monticello, February 21st, 1825. 

The Portrait of a Good Man by the most sublime of Poets, for your 

Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy bleat courts repair ; 
Not stranger-like to visit them, but *> inhabit there? 


'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves ; 
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves. 

Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound; 
Nor hearken to a false report by malice whispered round. 

Who vice in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect j 
And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect. 

Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood ; 
And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good. 

Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ ; 
Whom no*rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy. 

The man who, by this steady course, has happiness insured, 
When earth's foundations shake, shall stand by Providence secured. 

A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life. 

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. 

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. 

3. Never spend your money before you have it. 

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap ; it will be dear 

to you. 

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. 

6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 

8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened. 

9. Take things always by their smooth handle. 

10. When angry, count ten before you speak ; if very angry, an hundred. 

A little more than a year after the date of this letter we 
find Jefferson writing his last letter to John Adams. The 
playful tone in which it Is written gives no evidence of the 
suffering from the disease under which he was laboring at 
the time. 

To John Adams. 

Monticello, March 25th, 1826. 

Dear Sir My grandson, Thomas J. Randolph, the bearer 
of this letter, being on a visit to Boston, would think he had 
seen nothing were he to leave without seeing you. Al- 
though I truly sympathize with you in the trouble these in- 
terruptions give, yet I must ask for him permission to pay to 
to you his personal respects. Like other young people, he 
wishes to be able, in the winter nights of old age, to recount 
to those around him what he has heard and learnt of the he- 
roic,age preceding his birth, and which of the Argonauts in- 
dividually he was in time to have seen. 


It was' the lot of our early years to witness nothing -but 
the dull monotony of a colonial subservience, and of our 
riper years to breast the labors and perils of working out of 
it. Theirs are the halcyon calms succeeding the storms 
which our Argosy had so stoutly weathered. Gratify his* 
ambition, then, by receiving his best bow, and my solicitude 
for your health, by enabling him to bring me a favorable ac- 
count of it. Mine is but indifferent, but not so my friendship 
and respect for you. 


The leaders of different parties bitterly opposed to each 
other, and living at a time when party spirit ran so high, there 
is something remarkable, as well as beautiful, in the friend- 
ship which existed between these two distinguished men, and 
which, surviving all political differences and rivalry, expired 
only on the same day which saw them both breathe their last.* 
K In the spring of the year 1826 Jefferson's family became 
aware that his health was failing rapidly. Of this he had 
been conscious himself for some time previous. Though en- 
feebled by age and disease, he turned a deaf ear to Mrs. Ran- 
dolph's entreaties that he would allow his faithful, servant, 
Burwell, to accompany him in his daily rides. He said, if 
his family insisted, that he would give up his rides entirely; 
but that he had " helped himself" from his childhood, and 
that the presence of a servant in his daily musings with na- 
ture would be irksome to him. So, until within a very short 
time of his death, old Eagle was brought up every day, even 
when his venerable master was so weak that he could only 
get into the saddle by stepping down from the terrace. 

* "Without meaning the least irreverence in the world to the memory of 
these two great and good men, I can not refrain here from giving the reader 
the benefit of a good story, which has the advantage over most good stories 
of being strictly true : 

There was living in Albemarle, at the time of Jefferson's death, an enthu- 
siastic democrat, who, admiring him beyond all men, thought that, by dying 
on the 4th of July, he had raised himself and his party one step higher in the 
temple of fame. Then came the news that John Adams had died on the 
same great day. Indignant at the hare suggestion of such a thing, he at first 
refused to believe it, and, when he could no longer discredit the news, ex- 
claimed, in a passion, that "it was a damned Yankee trick." 


As he felt the sands of life running low, his love for his 
family seemed to increase in tenderness. Mr. Randall says, 
in his excellent biography of him, in alluding to this period : 

Mr. Jefferson's deportment to his family was touching. 
He evidently made an effort to keep up their spirits. He 
was as gentle as a child, but conversed with such vigor and 
animation that they would have often cheated themselves 
with the "belief that months, if not years, of life were in store 
for him, and that he himself was in no expectation of speedy 
death, had they not witnessed the infant-like debility of his 
powerful frame, and had they not occasionally, when they 
looked suddenly at him, caught resting on themselves that 
riveted and intensely-loving gaze which showed but too 
plainly that his thoughts were on a rapidly-approaching 
parting. And as he folded each in his arms as they sepa- 
rated for the night, there was. a fervor in his kiss and gaze 
that declared as audibly as words that he felt the farewell 
might prove a final one. 

In speaking of his private life, Dr. Dunglison, in his Mem- 
oranda, says : 

The opportunities I had of witnessing the private life of 
Mr. Jefferson were numerous.. It was impossible for any one 
to he more amiable in his domestic relations ; it was delight- 
ful to observe the devoted and respectful attention that was 
paid him by all the family. In the neighborhood, too, he 
was greatly revered. Perhaps, however, according to the 
all-wise remark that no one is a prophet in his own country, 
he had more personal detractors there, partly owing to dif- 
ference in political sentiments, which are apt to engender so 
much unworthy acrimony of feeling; but r jill more, perhaps, 
owing to the views which he was supposed to possess on the 
subject of religion; yet it was well known that he did not 
withhold his aid when a church had to be established in the 
neighborhood, and that he subscribed largely to the Episco- 
pal church erected in Charlottesville. After his death much 
sectarian intolerance was exhibited, owing to the publication 
of certain of his letters, in which he animadverted on the 
Presbyterians more especially; yet there could not have 


been a more unfounded assertion than that of a Philadelphia 
Episcopal divine that " Mr. Jefferson's memory was detest- 
ed in Charlottesville and the vicinity." It is due, also, to 
that illustrious individual to say, that, in all my intercourse 
with him, I never heard an observation that savored, in the 
slightest degree, of impiety. His religious belief harmonized 
more closely with that of the Unitarians than of any other 
denomination, but it was liberal, and untrammelled by sec- 
tarian feelings and prejudices. It is not easy to find more 
sound advice, more appropriately expressed, than in the let- 
ter which he wrote to Thomas Jefferson Smith, dated Febru- 
ary 21st f 1825.* 

It was beautiful, too, to witness the deference that was 
paid by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison to each other's opin- 
ions. When as secretary, and as chairman of the faculty, 
I had to consult one of them, it was a common interrogatory, 
What did the other say of the matter ? If possible, Mr. Mad- 
ison gave indications of a greater intensity of this feeling, 
and seemed to think that every thing emanating from his an- 
cient associate must be correct. In a letter which Mr. Jeffer- 
son wrote to Mr. Madison a few months only before he died 
(February 17th, 1826), he thus charmingly expresses himself. 
[Here follows the conclusion of a letter to Mr. Madison al- 
ready given, beginning at the words " The friendship which 
has subsisted between us," etc.] 

Mr. Eandall gives us, in his work, the following accounts 
of his last hours and death, written by two of those who 
were present Dr. Dunglison and his grandson, Colonel T. J. 
Randolph. I give Dr. Dunglison's first : 

In the spring of 1826 the health of Mr. Jefferson became 
more impaired ; his nutrition fell off; and at the approach of 
i summer he was troubled with diarrhoea, to which he had 
been liable for some years ever since, as 'he believed, he had 
resorted to the Virginia Springs, especially the White Sul- 
phur,;aTid had freely used the waters externally for an erup- 
tion Which did not yield readily to the ordinary remedies. 
I had prescribed for this affection early in June, and he had 

* See page 419. 


improved somewhat; but on the 24th of that month he 
wrote me the last note I received from him, begging me to 
visit him, as he was not so wdL This note was, perhaps, 
the last he penned. On the same day, however, he wrote 
an excellent letter to General Wfeightman, in reply to an in- 
vitation to celebrate in Washington the fiftieth anniversary 
of the Declaration of Independence, which he declined on the 
ground of indisposition. This, Professor Tucker says, was 
probably his last letter. It had all the striking characteris- 
tics of his vigorous and unfaded intellect 

The tone of the note I received from him satisfied me of 
the propriety of visiting him immediately ; and having men- 
tioned the subject to Mr, Tucker, he proposed to accompany 
me* I immediately saw that the affection was making -a 
decided impression on his bodily powers, and, as Mr. Tucker 
has properly remarked in his life of thisMistinguished indi- 
'vidual, was apprehensive that 'the attack would prove fatal. 
Nor did Mr. Jefferson himself indulge any other opinion. 
From this time his strength gradually diminished, and he had 
to remain in bed 

Until the 2d and 3d of July he spoke freely of his ap- 
proaching death ; made all his arrangements with his grand- 
son, Mr, Randolph, in regard to his private affairs ; and ex- 
pressed his anxiety for the prosperity of the University, and 
his confidence in the exertion in its behalf of Mr. Madison 
and the other Visitors. He repeatedly, too, mentioned his 
obligation to me for my attention to him. During the last 
week of his existence I remained at Monticello; and one of 
the last remarks he made was to me. In the course of the 
day and night of the 2d of July he was affected with stupor, 
with intervals of wakefulness and consciousness ; but on the 
3d the stupor became almost permanent. About seven 
o'clock of the evening of that day he awoke, and, seeing me 
staying at his bedside, exclaimed, "Ah ! Doctor, are you still 
there?" in a voice, however, that was husky and indistinct. 
He then asked, " Is it the Fourth ?" to which I replied, " It 
soon will be," These were the last words I heard him 

Until towards the middle of the day the 4th he remain-, 
ed in the same state, or -nearly so, wholly unconscious to 
every (thing .that was passing .around him. His circulation 


was gradually, however, becoming more languid; and for 
some time prior to dissolution the pulse at the wrist was 
imperceptible. About one o'clock he ceased to exist. 

Jefferson had the utmost confidence in Dr. Dunglison, and, 
on being entreated by a Philadelphia friend to send for the 
celebrated Dr. Physic, he refused kindly, but firmly, to do ' 
so, saying, " I have got a Dr. Physic of my own I have en- 
tire confidence in Dr. Dunglison." Nor would he allow any 
other physician to be called in. 

Ever thoughtful of others, and anxious to the last not to 
give trouble, he at first refused to allow even a servant to be 
with him at night; and when, at last, he became so weak as 
to be forced to yield his consent, he made his attendant, -Bur- 
well, bring a pallet into his room that he might rest during 
the night. 

"In the parting interview with the female members of his 
family," says Mr. Randall, ".Mr. Jefferson, besides general 
admonitions (the tenor of which corresponds with those con- 
tained in his letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith), addressed to 
them affectionate words of encouragement and practical ad- 
vice adapted to their several situations. In this he did not 
pass over a young great-grandchild (Ellen Bankhead), but 
exhorted her to diligently persevere in her studies, for they 
would help to make life valuable to her. He gently but 
audibly murmured : c Lord, now lettest thou thy servant de- 
part in peace.'"* 

I now give Colonel Randolph's account of his grandfa- 
ther's death. Having revised this for me, he has in one or 
, two instances inserted a few words which were not in the 

Mr. Jefferson had suffered for several years before his 
death from a diarrhoea which he concealed from .his family, 
lest it might give them uneasiness. KTot aware of it, I was 
surprised, in conversation .with him in March, 1826, to hear 

* See Randall's Jefferson, vol. iii., p. 547. 


him, in speaking of an event likely to occur about midsum- 
mer, say doubtingly that he might live to that time. About 
the middle of June, hearing that he had sent for his physi- 
cian, Dr. Dunglison, of the University of Virginia, I immedi- 
ately went to see him.* I found him out in his public rooms. 
Before leaving the house, he sent a servant to me to come to 
his room, whereupon he handed me a paper, which he desired 
me to examine, remarking, " Don't delay ; there is no time to 
be lost." He gradually declined, but would only have his 
servants sleeping near him : being disturbed only at nine, 
twelve, and four o'clock in the nightj he needed little nurs- 
ing. Becoming uneasy about him, I entered his room, un- 
observed, to pass the night. Coming round inadvertently 
to assist him, he chided me, saying, that, being actively em- 
ployed all day, I needed repose. On my replying that it 
was more agreeable to me to be with him, he acquiesced, 
and I did not leave him again. 

A day or two after, at my request, my brother-in-law (Mr. 
Trist) was admitted. His servants, ourselves, and the doc- 
tor became his sole nurses. My mother sat with him dur- 
ing the day, but he would not permit her to sit up at night. 
His family had to decline for him numerous tenders of serv- 
ice from kind and affectionate friends and neighbors, fearing 
and seeing that it would excite him to conversation injuri- 
ous to him in his weak condition. 

He suffered no pain, but gradually sank from debility. 
His mind was always clear it never wandered. He con- 
versed freely, and gave directions as to his private affairs. 
His manner was that of a person going on a necessary jour- 
ney evincing neither satisfaction nor regret. He remarked 
upon the tendency of his mind to recur back to the scenes ' 
of the Eevolution. Many incidents he would relate, in his 
usual cheerful manner, insensibly diverting my mind from, 
his dying condition. He remarked that the curtains of his 
bed had been purchased from. the first cargo that arrived 
after the peace of 1 782. 

Upon my expressing the opinion, on one occasion, that he 
was somewhat better, he turned to me, and said, "Do not 
imagine for a moment that I feel the smallest solicitude 

* Col. Randolph lived on an estate adjoining Monticello. 


about the result ; I am like an old watch, with a pinion worn 
out here, and a wheel there, until it can go no longer." 

On another occasion, when he was unusually ill, he ob- 
served to the doctor, "A few hours more, doctor, and it will 
be all over."- 

Upon being suddenly aroused from sleep by a noise in the 
room, he asked if he had heard the name of Mr. Hatch men- 
tioned the minister whose church he attended. On my re- 
plying in the negative, he observed, as he turned over, " I 
have no objection to see him, as a kind and good neighbor." 
The impression made upon my mind at the moment was, 
that his religious opinions having been formed upon mature 
study and reflection, he had no doubts upon his mind, and 
therefore did not desire the attendance of a clergyman : I 
have never since doubted of the correctness of the impression 
then taken. 

His parting interview with the different members of his 
family was calm and composed; impressing admonitions 
upon them, the cardinal points of which were, to pursue vir- 
tue, be true and truthful. My youngest brother, in his 
eighth year, seeming not to comprehend the scene, he turned 
to me with a smile, and said, " George* does not understand 
what all this means." 

He would speculate upon the person who would succeed 
him as Rector of the University o-f Virginia, and concluded 
that Mr. Madison would be- appointed. : With all the deep 
pathos of exalted friendship, he spoke of his purity, his vir- 
tue, his wisdom, his learning, and his great abilities ; and then, 
stretching his head back on his pillow, he said, with a sigh, 
" But ah ! he could never in his life stand up against strenu- 
ous opposition." The friendship of these great men was of 
an extraordinary character. They had been born, lived, and 
died within twenty-five miles of each other, and they visited 
frequently through their whole lives. At twenty-three 
years old Mr. Jefferson had been consulted on Mr. Madison's 
course of study he then fifteen. Thus commenced a friend- 
ship as remarkable for its duration as it was for the fidelity 

* This was George Wythe Eandolph, who became an eminent lawyer in 
Virginia, and who, in the late civil war entering warmly in the defense of the 
South, was distinguished in both the cabinet and field in the Confederate 


and warmth of its feelings. The admiration of each for 
the wisdom, abilities, and purity, of the other was unlim- 
ited. Their habit of reliance upon mutual counsel equalled 
the sincerity of their affection and the devotion of their 

In speaking of the calumnies which his enemies had uttered 
against his public and private character with such unmiti- 
gated and untiring bitterness, he said that he had not con- 
sidered them as abusing him ; they had never known him. 
They had created an imaginary being clothed with odious 
attributes, to whom they had given his name ; and it was 
against that creature of their imaginations they had levelled 
their anathemas. v 

On Monday, the third of July, his slumbers were evidently 
those of approaching dissolution; he slept until evening, 
when, upon awaking, he seemed to imagine it was morning, 
and' remarked that he had slept all night without being dis- 
turbed. " This'is the fourth of July," he said. He soon sank: 
again into sleep, and on being aroused at nine to take his 
medicine, he remarked in a clear distinct voice, " No, doctor, 
nothing more." The omission of the dose of laudanum, ad- 
ministered every night during his illness caused his slumbers 
to be disturbed and dreamy; he sat up in his sleep and went 
through all the forms of writing ; spoke of the' Committee of 
Safety, ought to be warned. 
As twelve o'clock at night approached, we anxiously de- 
sired that his death should be hallowed by the Anniversary 
of Independence. .At fifteen minutes before twelve we stood 
noting the minute-hand of the watch, hoping a few minutes 
of prolonged life. At four A.M. he called the servants in at- 
tendance with a strong and clear voice, perfectly conscious 
of his wants. He did not speak again. About ten he fixed 
his eyes intently upon me, indicating some want, which, most 
painfully, I could not understand, until his attached servant, * 
Burwell, observed that his head was not so much elevated as 
he usually desired it, for his habit was to lie with it very 
much elevated. Upon restoring it to its usual position he 
seemed satisfied. About eleven, again fixing his eyes upon 
me, and moving his lips, I applied a wet sponge to his mouth, 
which he sucked and appeared to relish this was the last 
evidence he gave of consciousness. He ceased to breathe, 

THE CLOSE :JULY. 4, 1826. 429 

without a struggle, fifty minutes past meridian July 4th, 
1826. I closed his eyee with my own hands. 

He- was, at all times during his illness, perfectly assured 
of his approaching end, his mind ever clear, and at no mo- 
ment did he evince the least solicitude about the result ; he 
was as calm and composed as when in health. He died a 
pure and good man. It is- for others to speak of his great- 
ness. He desired that his interment should be private, with- 
out parade, and our wish was to comply with his request, 
and no notice of the hoar of interment or invitations were 
issued. His body was. borne privately from his dwelling 
by his family and servants, but his neighbors and friends, 
anxious to pay the last tribute of respect and affection to 
one whom they had loved and honored, waited for it in 
crowds at the grave. 

Two days before his death, Jefferson told Mrs. Randolph 
that in a certain drawer, in an old pocket-book, she would 
find something intended for her. On looking in the drawer 
after his death, she found the following touching lines., com- 
posed by himself: 

A Death-led Adieu from Th. J. to M. R. 

Life's visions are vanished, its dreams are no more; 

Dear friends of my bosom, why bathed in tears ? 

I go to my fathers, I welcome the shore 

Which crowns all my hopes or which buries my cares. 

Then farewell, my dear, my lov'd daughter, adieu! 

The last pang of life is in parting from you! 

Two seraphs await me long shrouded in death; 

I will bear them your love on my last parting breath. 

As soon as Mr. Madison was informed of the death of his 
revered friend, he wrote the following handsome letter to 
a gentleman who had married into Mr. Jefferson's family : 

From James Madison. 

Montpellier, July 6th,' 1826. 

Dear Sir I have just received yours of the 4th. A few 
lines from Dr. Dunglison had prepared me for such a com- 
munication, and I never doubted that the last scene of our 
illustrious friend would be worthy of the life it closed. 
Long as this has been spared to his country and to those 


who loved him, a few years more were to have been desired 
for the sake of both. But we are more than consoled for the 
loss by the gain to him, and by the assurance that he lives 
and will live in the memory and gratitude of the -wise and 
good, as a luminary of science, as a votary of liberty, as a 
model of patriotism, and as a benefactor of the human kind. 
In these characters I have known him, and not less in the 
virtues and charms of social life, for a period of fifty years, 
during which there was not an interruption or diminution 
of mutual confidence and cordial friendship for a single mo- 
ment in a single instance. What I feel, therefore, now need 
not, I should say can not, be expressed. If there be any pos- 
sible way in which I can usefully give evidence of it, do not 
fail to afford me the opportunity. I indulge a hope that the 
unforeseen event will not be permitted to impair any of the 
beneficial measures which were in progress, or in prospect. 
It can not be unknown that the Anxieties of the deceased 
were for others, not for himself. 

Accept, my dear sir, my best wishes for yourself and for 
all with whom we sympathize, in which Mrs. Madison most 
sincerely joins. 


To the same gentleman, Judge Dabney Carr, of the Court 
of Appeals of Virginia, wrote : 

The loss of Mr. Jefferson is one "-over which the whole 
world will, mourn. He was one of those ornaments and 
benefactors of the human race whose death forms an epoch 
and creates a sensation throughout the whole circle of civil- 
ized man. But that feeling is nothing to what those feel who 
are connected with him by blood,* and .bound to him by 
gratitude for .a thousand favors. To me he has been more 
than a father, and I have ever' loved and revered him with 

my whole heart Taken as a whole, history presents 

nothing so grand, so beautiful, so peculiarly felicitous in all 
the great points, as the life and character of Thomas Jefferson. 

After Mr. Jefferson's death there were found in a drawer in 
his room, among other souvenirs, some little packages con- 

* Judge Can- was Mr. Jefferson's nephew. ' 

GRAVE. 431 

taining locks of the hair of his deceased wife, daughter, and 
even the infant children that he had lost. These relics are 
now lying before me. They are labelled in his own hand- 
writing. One, marked "A look of our first Lucy's hair, with 
some of my dear, dear wife's writing" contains a few strands 
of soft, silk-like hair evidently taken from th'e head of a very 
young infant. Another, marked simply "iwcy," contains a 
beautiful golden curl. 

Among his papers there were found written on -the torn 
back of an old letter the following directions for his monu- 
ment and its inscription : 

Could the dead feel any interest in monuments or other remembrances of 
them, when, as Anacreon says, 


the following would be to my manes the most gratifying : on the grave a 
plain die or cube of three feet without any mouldings, surmounted by an 
obelisk of six feet height, each of a single stone ; on the faces of the obelisk 
the following inscription, and not a word more : 



Author of the Declaration of American Independence, 

Of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, 

And Father of the University of Virginia; 

because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remem- 
bered. [It] to be of the coarse stone of which my columns are made, that 
no one might be tempted hereafter to destroy it for the value of the materials. 
My bust, by Ceracchi, with the pedestal and truncated column on which it 
stands, might be given to the University, if they would place it in the dome 
room of the Rotunda. On the die of the obelisk might be engraved : 

Bom Apr. 2, 1743, 0. S. 
Died - - - . 

Folded up in the same paper which contained these direc- 
tions was a scrap on which was written the dates and in- 
scription for Mrs. Jefferson's tomb, which I have already 
given at page 64 of this book. 

Jefferson's efforts to save his monument from mutilation 
by having it made of coarse stone have been futile. His 
grandson, Colonel Randolph, followed his directions in erect- 
ing the monument which is placed over him. He lies bu- 



ried between his wife and his daughter, Mary Eppes : across 
the head of these three graves lie the remains of his eldest 
daughter, Martha Eandolph. This group lies in front of 
a gap in the high brick wall which surrounds the whole 
grave-yard, the gap being filled by a high iron grating, giv- 
ing a full view of the group, that there might be no excuse 
for forcing open the high iron gates which close the entrance 
to the grave-yard. But all precautions have been in vain. 
The gates have been again and again broken open, the grave- 
yard entered, and the tombs desecrated. The edges of the 
granite obelisk .over Jefferson's grave have been chipped 
away until it now stands a misshapen column. Of the 
slabs placed over the graves of Mrs. Jefferson and Mrs. 
Eppes not a vestige remains, while of the one over Mrs. 
Randolph only fragments are left.